Finnish currency in circulation had grown rapidly since the outbreak of the First World War. Until 1917 the currency in circulation had been boosted most by the Bank of Finland's lending to the Russian Government and the exchange of roubles for markkaa.
During the Civil War, growth in the means of payment continued due to the monetary financing practised by both the White and Red administrations. During 1918 the volume of cash grew by 52%.
Monetary financing led to rampant inflation and a fall in the value of the markka against the US dollar and Swedish krona. Inflation was further fed by the serious lack of food and other goods caused by the war. The imposition of price controls on essential goods was insufficient to rein in the rise in prices.