Hedging your bets

So many experts seem to be coming out with their own estimates and revised estimates for Dutch economic growth that it is hard to attach any value to them at all.

But everyone wants to know what the likely effect of the US credit crisis will be on the Netherlands, so the statisticians are having a field day.
Today, the government’s economic policy quango CPB came out with its revised growth figures. The CPB says the economy will grow at 2.25% this year and 1.75% in 2009. This is somewhat different from the apparent forecast of 1.75% this year and 2% in 2009 which leaked out in mid-February.
Earlier this week, the IMF came out with its own estimates for the Dutch economy. The mighty think-tank said the economy will grow at 2.3% this year and 1.8% in 2009. Slightly more optimistic than the CPB then.
Next there is the Netherlands’ very own central bank to add into the equation. Its president Nout Wellink is more cautious. This year the Dutch economy will grow between 1.5% and 2.5%, he said in February, hedging his bets.
The man who needs all this information to take wise economic decisions is finance minister Wouter Bos. He told a radio show last month that the economy will grow between 1.6% and 2.25% this year – which is a great way of making sure that unless things go very wrong, no-one will be able to say he made a mistake.

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