Finance minister not ‘surprised’ by forecast

Finance minister Wouter Bos said on Monday evening he is not surprised by the new European Commission forecast which says the Dutch economy will shrink by 2% this year.

‘This forecast is not a surprise. The cabinet is taking disappointing figures into account,’ Bos said in a reaction. ‘This will become apparent in the spring financial statement.’
The government based its 2009 spending plans on slight economic growth.
The economy in the 16-country eurozone is forecast to shrink by 1.9%. In November, the Commission said the Dutch economy would grow 0.4% this year.
Great unknown
‘The great unknown is whether any of the intervention packages, both for the financial sector and for the economy, will prove to be effective or not,’ Dow Jones newswire quoted the Dutch finance minister as saying.
The Netherlands has set up a €200bn loan guarantee fund in an effort to get banks lending money again. It has also extended export guarantees and taken a number of other measures to keep the Dutch economy pumping.

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