Dutch government debt falls but mortgages boost household debts

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The national statistics agency CBS released a slew of figures on Friday confirming the continued upward march of the Dutch economy.

Government debt in the first half of 2017 fell back by €14bn to €421bn. This equates to 58.7% of GDP, the lowest level since 2010, the CBS said.

Debt fell because of a €4bn surplus and the proceeds from the sale of financial interests such as the divestment of its shareholding in insurer ASR for nearly €2bn and another 7% tranche in ABN Amro Bank for €1.5bn.

The debt quota – government debt as a percentage of the GDP – was 61.8% at end-2016, still above the European norm of 60%, the CBS added.

Household debt

The combined debt held by of Dutch households totalled more than €760bn at end-June of this year, about €3bn more than at end-March, the CBS also said on Friday. The increase in household debt arose largely  because of the number of new mortgages was higher than the number of those paid off in the second quarter.

Householding spending

Money available for household spending rose by 2.1% in the second quarter of 2017, the same level as in the first three months of the year. The CBS said this is because more people are in work.

The amount of money available for spending has increased every quarter since the second quarter of 2014. The increase in the first six months of 2017 is at the same 2.3% level as in full year 2016.