Dutch economy back in recession
The Netherlands is back in recession, CBS has revealed, with the economy contracting by 0,2 percent in the last quarter of 2012, the second successive contraction. Compared with fourth quarter of 2011 this is an downturn of 0,9 percent over the whole year.
Compared with last year, the rest of the statistics paint a grim picture:
› Investment has fallen by 5,2 percent
› Household consumption is 2,3 percent lower
› There are 93.000 fewer jobs
There has been some respite, however, mainly from the growth in exports which has been linked to the strength of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Exports rose by 3,2 percent during the last quarter, with the majority of growth attributed to exports of natural gas, petroleum and chemical products - although the overall value of exported goods is down on the previous 12 months.
These statistics come in conjunction with reports that retail sales have gone down 4,1 percent on last year while, during January of this year, inflation has risen to it's highest level in four years - three percent.
Despite being recently ranked the best country in Europe in which to do business, these statistics will come as worry for the coalition government who have recently introduced new measures to kick-start the housing sector, which saw a nine percent contraction in the fourth quarter.
Also, to compound the decrease in household consumption, the government's spending rose by around 1,1 percent with a particular increase in social benefits. Though this should come as no surprise since there has been a significant increase in people on unemployment benefits in the Randstad in particular, the number of jobs has now decreased to the levels of 2007.
All in all it has been a tough year for the Dutch economy, but ministers will cling to the rise in exports and their ability to attract new business from across the world as hope for a return to growth during the first quarter of this year.