Netherlands back in recession

POSTED: 02/15/13 1:31 PM

THE HAGUE – The Dutch economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the final quarter of last year, meaning the Netherlands is now back in recession, according to initial estimates released by the national statistics office CBS yesterday.

Year-on-year, the economy contracted 0.9 percent in the final quarter, the CBS said. In the third quarter, the economy shrank by 1 percent year-on-year. Two successive contractions means the country is officially in recession.

Household spending was down 3.2 percent in the final quarter, compared with the year earlier period. Investments were down 5.2 percent but exports provided some relief, showing 3.2 percent growth.

Earlier this week, the CBS said inflation has now reached 3 percent, its highest level in four years.

Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp said in a reaction to the new figures that the cabinet is strengthening the Dutch economy through reform.

“The economy is contracting, people are worried about their jobs, their pensions and the value of their home,” Kamp said. “The only way to boost confidence is to strengthen the economy through reforms and get the government’s finances in order.”

The minister also stressed that the Dutch jobless rate is among the lowest in the world.

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