Dutch economy shrinks first time since 2009

15th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch economy shrank 0.3 percent in the third quarter compared with the three months to June for the first such contraction since 2009, official data showed on Tuesday.

"It's the first time the economy has contracted from one quarter to the next since the second quarter of 2009," Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said.

Year-on-year, gross domestic product (GDP) was up 1.1 percent in the third quarter.

Household consumption dipped 1.0 percent in the third quarter over a year ago, the CBS said, singling out depressed auto sales.

Clothes and shoes also showed a drop, as well as spending in the hotel and restaurant sector, blamed on poor weather in July and August.

State spending on defence and administration slipped because of budget cuts.

Finance Minister Maxime Verhagen said uncertainty within the European economy was also starting to affect the Dutch economy.

"Confidence among entrepreneurs and consumers received a hard knock," Dutch news agency ANP quoted Verhagen as saying.

"We are going to feel it in the future. Signals for the Dutch economy are flashing (caution)," he said.

Exports continued firmer, however, up 4.0 percent over the third quarter of 2010 and 2.9 percent over the second quarter this year.

CBS reported a trade surplus of 3.6 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in September, down 1.1 billion euros on September 2010.

Year-on-year, investment rose 4.6 percent, notably in the automotive industry. Investment in housing and business property was up 2.6 percent.

Despite the decline in growth and a decline in certain figures such as household consumption, the Dutch economy was not in bad shape," said CBS spokesman Symon Algera.

Dutch economic prospects in the long term were very positive, he said.

© 2011 AFP

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