Dutch economy down four percent in 2009
The Dutch economy contracted an historic four percent in 2009 but grew 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter as the economic decline showed signs of slowing, the CBS statistics agency said on Friday.The Hague--The fourth quarter figure was, however, lower than the 0.4 percent growth seen in the third quarter.
"This is the largest yearly decline that the CBS has ever measured," as production and exports dropped amid the global economic crisis, the agency in a statement.
While the economy shrank 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, it grew 0.3 percent from the preceding quarter as recovery started kicking in.
"This is the second quarter in a row with positive quarter-on-quarter growth following on four successive quarters of decline," the CBS said.
1931 holds the previous record for annual economic decline, with a figure of 3.6 percent.
"The largest contraction after World War II was in 1982, with 1.2 percent," said the CBS, which started keeping records in 1922.
As the global economic crisis hit home, the Dutch central bank forecast in June last year that the economy would contract by 5.4 percent in 2009, down from a prediction of 0.5 percent made in December 2008.
The government itself had in 2008 forecast a 1.25 growth figure for 2009, but these expectations were undermined by diving exports -- a mainstay of the Dutch economy.
The economy came out of recession in the third quarter of last year.