The Dutch economy contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter of this year compared with the final three months of 2022, national statistics agency CBS said on Tuesday.
According to the Financieele Dagblad, analysts had expected moderate growth.
Year on year the economy grew 1.9%, but that was due to the lockdown in place at the start of 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The figures, which are an early estimate, show the quarter-on-quarter downturn is due to a drop in the trade balance as exports declined, and a reduction in gas reserves. The economy grew by 0.4% in the last quarter of last year.
At the same time, investments are up 1.1% quarter on quarter and government spending expanded by 0.5%. Household spending remained unchanged overall, although families did spend more on goods and less on services.
The Dutch contraction of 0.7% is in sharp contrast to that in Belgium and France, where the economies grew 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. On average, EU growth was 0.3%.
Nevertheless, the CBS points out, the Dutch economy has grown more strongly than the EU average since the final quarter of 2019, ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.
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