The Netherlands’ economic outlook worsened in October, continuing a 16-month downward trend, statistics agency CBS said on Tuesday based on an overview of 13 key indicators.
The CBS said seven of the 13 measures, which include house prices, consumer spending, unemployment and the bankruptcy rate, were performing below the long-term trend.
However, there were signs that some of the downward trends were levelling off. Households spent 0.5% more on goods and services in August compared to a year ago, though spending was up on services and down on goods.
A separate analysis of retail sales showed turnover increased by 3.3% in September, but this was driven by high inflation. The volume of sales declined by 3.3%, while online sales were down by 0.9% year-on-year.
Consumer confidence, a survey of people’s expectations of the economy, remains well below the long-term average, but increased marginally from -39 to -38 in October. The net figure weighs people with a negative expectation against those who give a positive response.
Producer confidence, which has been in negative territory since August, also eased from -2.2 to -1.8.
House prices declined by -3.5% in September, but this was an improvement on the previous month’s figure. Monthly figures show prices have been on the rise since June, while ABN Amro recently said overbidding had returned to the market, fuelled by a shortage of available homes.
Unemployment has increased by around 6,000 a month for the last three months and now stands at 371,000, representing 3.7% of the workforce, the CBS said.
Fewer jobs were available at the end of June, the last time the measure was taken, when vacancies dropped by 10,000 to 427,000, ending a run of eight consecutive quarters of growth.
The number of bankruptcies remains historically low but rose by 9% from August to September, when 25 companies went out of business. The CBS said there had been an upward trend for the last year.
GDP contracted by -0.4% in the first quarter of 2023 and -0.2% in the second, meaning the Netherlands is officially in recession. The CBS said the decline was mainly the result of falling household spending and a drop in the balance of trade.
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