According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands, Dutch household consumption grew a little in November 2004. The volume of domestic consumption was up 0.2 percent on November 2003. The figure was adjusted for differences in shopping day patterns. The modest increase in November 2004 follows a slight decrease in October and unchanged consumption volume in September.
Less expenditure on goods
In November 2004 households spent 0.9 percent less on goods than in November 2003. This is the figure after adjustments for price changes and shopping day patterns. Dutch consumption of food, beverages and tobacco were virtually the same as the year before. The same was true in September and October 2004. Households spent 3.3 percent less on durable goods in November than they did the year before. Durable goods are, for instance, clothes, shoes, furniture, household appliances and cars. Expenditure on durable goods is the most sensitive of all consumer purchases to economic fluctuations.
More spent on services
Households spent 1.3 percent more on services than in November 2003. This figure is also adjusted for price changes and shopping day patterns. About half of the increased expenditure on services is due to major changes in the laws on exceptional medical expenses (AWBZ) and compulsory health insurance (ZFW) that came into force on 1 January 2004. As a result household expenditure on medical care and social services increased substantially in 2004 in comparison with 2003.
Hesitant growth in the first eleven months
In 2004 Dutch households were reluctant when it came to consumer expenditure. The volume of domestic consumption in the period January-November 2004 was up by 0.2 percent on the same period in 2003. Dutch household consumption recovered somewhat from the decrease in 2003, when the consumption volume was almost 1 percent down on 2002.
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