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Dutch economic situation less dire than previously reported

The Dutch economy grew by 0,3 percent during the first quarter of 2012, but shrank by 0,8 percent compared with the same quarter last year, according to revised figures just released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The economic situation is more positive than previously outlined, and the Netherlands is no longer officially in a recession.

In mid-May CBS reported that the economy had shrank by 0,2 percent during the first quarter, making it the third consecutive quarter in which the economy shrank. Two or more successive quarters of decrease constitute an economic recession. However, CBS adjusted this figure upwards after taking into account information that was previously unavailable.

On the spending side, government expenditure has been adjusted upwards after taking into account information not available before. Also, new information on retail turnover indicates that the decrease in consumption expenditure by households is smaller than previously estimated. On the other hand, investment and re-exports have been adjusted downwards.

On the production side, the value added of wholesale and retail trade, the information and communication sector, agriculture, care and construction were higher according to information now available.

CBS also revised estimates of economic growth dating further back. After accounting for new information, growth shows a slight downward adjustment for all three years: by -0,1 to -3,7 percent in 2009, by -0,1 to +1,6 percent in 2010, and by -0,2 to +1,0 percent in 2011.

Other facets of the economy indicate that the Netherlands' economic problems are not over yet, however. In the first quarter of 2012 there were 26 thousand fewer jobs than in the first quarter of 2011, a decrease of 0,3 percent. After correcting for seasonal effects, the number of jobs in the first quarter of 2012 is 31 thousand lower than in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Wages per working year increase by just 0,6 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same quarter last year, well below the collectively agreed wage rise of 1,3 percent.

Fitch Ratings agency affirmed the Netherlands' Triple A credit rating, but warned that "A dramatic worsening of the eurozone crisis could have a severe adverse impact on the Netherlands' small and open economy and potentially bring downward pressure on the rating."

Carly

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Carly Blair

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