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Daily Dutch News in English

Dutch economy shrinks sharply, recession looms

According to the first, provisional estimate of Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch economy shrank by 1.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the second quarter. In the first two quarters of the year, the economy grew slightly, by 0.1 percent.

Compared with the third quarter of 2011, the economy shrank by 1.6 percent. Consumption by households and investment were down, exports still grew slightly but by less than in previous quarters. The third quarter of 2012 had one working day fewer than the third quarter of 2011.

Exports growth weakening
Exports of goods and services grew by 1.6 percent in the third quarter compared with the same quarter last year. In the second quarter, exports had grown by 4.4 percent. Exports of goods produced in the Netherlands fell by 1.7 percent. Re-exports, which are relatively less lucrative for the Netherlands, grew by 3.9 percent.

Investment substantially lower
Investment in fixed capital was 6.4 percent lower than one year previously. Investment spending on dwellings and commercial buildings and on civil engineering projects was down. Compared with the second quarter of this year investment in transport equipment was also significantly less. The largest decrease in investment was for cars, but spending on machines and installations also fell.

Consumption down further
Consumption by households shrank by 1.8 percent compared with twelve months previously. In the five preceding quarters consumption also decreased. Consumers spent less on durable goods in particular. Spending on cars was especially down on the same period last year.
Consumption by the government rose slightly, by 0.2 percent. This was mainly the effect of a further increase in spending on care. Spending on public administration was down again.

Construction shrinks by most
With the exception of government and care, production in all sectors of industry was lower than in the same period last year. The decrease was largest in the construction industry, at 8.0 percent. Construction has been declining since 2009, with the exception of a slight pick-up in 2011.

Fewer jobs again
In the third quarter of 2012 the number of jobs was 21 thousand lower than in the second quarter, after adjustments for seasonal effects. Compared with the same quarter last year, the decrease was 75 thousand. This is a decrease of 0.9 percent. The number of jobs was down on last year in nearly all sectors of industry. The decrease was largest in the construction industry, 17 thousand. The number of jobs rose slightly in the care sector, but this increase was much smaller than in the preceding quarters.