According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands, the volume of domestic household consumption in 2004 increased by 0.4 percent, whereas consumption volume in 2003 fell by 0.9 percent. This means that household consumption in 2004 recovered slightly from the negative growth in 2003. Households spent more on food, beverages and tobacco and on services in 2004. However, expenditure on durable goods was down for the second year in a row, although the drop in volume was not as great as in 2003.
Expenditure on durable goods sensitive to economic fluctuations
The Dutch economy stagnated in recent years, which clearly affected the expenditure on durable goods. In 2004 the volume fell by 1.3 percent, which is not as much as in 2003 when the fall was nearly 4 percent. During the economic boom in the mid to late nineties, the average volume of expenditure on durable goods increased by more than 6 percent a year. Consumption of food, beverages and tobacco increased by 1.0 percent in 2004. This is the same as the average volume increase in the period 1996-2003.
Expenditure on services up
Households spent 1.3 percent more on services in 2004. This figure is corrected for price changes. Households had to pay more for medical and social care in 2004, due to changes in the compulsory health insurance (ZFW) and the exceptional medical expenses acts (AWBZ). Furthermore households spent more on housing, transport and communication and on financial and business services. Household spent less on hotels and restaurants than in 2003.
Relatively strong increase in consumption in December
The volume of domestic consumption in December 2004 was up 0.8 percent on December 2003. The only increase in 2004 that was higher occured in June and July. These figures are corrected for differences in shopping day patterns.
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