When credit ratings agency Moody’s left Finland as the only eurozone country with a stable triple-A credit rating last week, commentators went into overdrive to try and explain the country’s financial stability.
Finland escaped a negative outlook partly because of its small banking system focused on domestic customers, its fiscally conservative budget policies and its limited trade links with the rest of the eurozone, Moody's said.
Asking how Finland kept its head above the eurozone crisis, Britain's Guardian newspaper noted that Finland's economy is dominated by services but it is competitive in manufacturing while its revenues are bigger than its debt.
Moody’s said Finland’s insistence on receiving collateral in exchange for its participation in eurozone bailouts had also reduced its exposure to potential losses.
Earlier this month, for example, Helsinki agreed to contribute to the Spanish banking bailout package, but only on the basis that Spain provides it with cash collateral worth 770 million euros – about 40 per cent of its share of the bailout.
Last week, Moody’s downgraded its outlook for Europe’s three top-rated economies, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg to negative from stable.
Rival agency Standard & Poor's gives a stable outlook for Germany but negative for Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Finland. All are rated AAA.
Fitch Ratings rates all four AAA and gives them stable outlooks.