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Dutch economic prospects shine brighter in the New Year03 January 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
The Dutch national statistics office has released its data for the end of 2013, showing that the economic situation in the Netherlands has improved still further.
The Dutch economy grew by 0,2 per cent in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the previous quarter, although it had shrunk compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, growth was 0,1 per cent higher than expected in November.
Long-term economic trends in the Netherlands
The longer term outlook is, slowly but surely, looking up, with improvements outnumbering deteriorations. CBS’s Business Cycle Tracer tracks the status of various economic indicators in the Netherlands, including unemployment, consumption, manufacturing, GDP and consumer and producer confidence.
At the end of December, the pattern of the indicators had the "heart" located in the recovery stage, meaning that the majority are in the yellow (recovery) category, while two are even in the green (boom) category.
There were still six indicators in the red (recession) category, with the jobs indicator by far the lowest rated. Unemployment, on the other hand, is well into the yellow category, showing that it is slowly improving.
Economic situation in Europe
While the eurozone is still in crisis, the situation at the beginning of 2014 is much improved when compared to this time last year. The biggest difference is that the number of economies requiring extensive financial aid has dropped from five to three.
Last year, the Spanish banking sector was in dire straits and Ireland’s economy was greatly dependent on a financial infusion. Now, Spain’s emergency loan package from the European rescue fund the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) ended on New Year’s Day, while Ireland has not required help since December 15, 2013.
While both countries received enormous ESM loans (Madrid had 41,3 billion euros in one year, Ireland 67,5 billion euros over three), they saved the banks who were the source of the crisis, thereby hopefully allowing those countries’ economies to steadily improve.
That will still take some time, as necessary credit to businesses and citizens in Spain, for example, are at such a low level that economic prosperity still seems far away.
Nonetheless, according to estimates, within the eurozone only the economies of Cyprus and Slovenia are still slowing.
Portugal, one of the original five countries needing help, expects to close the book on its loans mid-2014, while even Greece, who this time last year faced the possibility of exiting the euro, is expecting economic growth this year.