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NL Economic Indicators Better Than Expected in Q2 - But we're not out of the woods yet
The Netherlands economy appears to be stabilizing. But it's still to early to say we've seen the worst. Last August 14 the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced the following economic indicators for the second quarter of 2012.
• In the second quarter 0.2 percent growth compared to last quarter
• 0.5 percent contraction relative to a year earlier
• Output 3.6 percent higher
• Household consumption 1.3 percent lower
• Investments 3.2 percent lower
• 55 thousand fewer jobs than a year earlier
According to first provisional estimate of the CBS the economy in the second quarter of 2012 grew by 0.2 percent compared with the previous quarter. Compared to the second quarter of 2011 the economy has shrunk by 0.5 percent. The number of working days was the same in both quarters.
Second consecutive quarter with slight growth
The growth rate of 0.2 percent relative to the preceding quarter was similar to that in the first quarter. This limited growth in the first half of 2012 followed a contraction in the second half of 2011. Despite the slight growth in the Netherlands, the country is still in a period of recession.
The output in the second quarter grew by 3.6 percent compared with a year earlier. However, re-exports (in which the Netherlands earn relatively less) grew faster than exports of home-grown products. Of the products manufactured in the Netherlands in Q2 the main growth came from exports of natural gas and petroleum products.
Consumption declines further
Household consumption in the second quarter shrank 1.3 percent from a year earlier. The previous four quarters were also marked by decreasing consumption rates. In Q2 there were notably less durable goods purchased like clothes, cars and furniture. An exception was consumer electronics on which have more spent - probably the European soccer championships and the Olympics played a role here. Due to the cold weather there was also increased spending on heating.
Government consumption increased slightly by 0.5 percent. This is mainly due to the continued increase in healthcare spending. In public administration less money was spent.
Investment in fixed assets in the second quarter were 3.2 percent lower than a year earlier. The shrinkage is mainly due to the slump in construction. Both residential and commercial buildings, as in civil engineering, road engineering works saw less invested. Investment in machinery and equipment shrank in the second quarter. Due to decreasing fiscal incentives some last minute investment did take place in the transport sector.
Further shrinkage construction
Most industries remained at about the same level as a year earlier. Construction shrank by 9.3 percent and is particularly hard hit. Construction has been shrinking continually since 2009 with the exception of a brief uplift in early 2011. Another exception was among the mineral extraction industries. The cold spring saw mineral extraction (gas and oil) grow by 11.4 percent from a year earlier.
Again, fewer jobs
In the second quarter of 2012 there were 55,000 fewer jobs than a year earlier. This is a decrease of 0.7 percent. With a decrease of 15,000 employment fell the most in public administration. In almost all industries there are now fewer jobs than a year ago. Only in the trade, transport and catering, health care and in information and communication sectors are more jobs than a year earlier. Compared to the previous quarter, the total number of jobs fell by 16 thousand.