Consumption up in November
Dutch households have been spending more since last summer. In November 2005 consumption was 1.6 percent up on November 2004. This is the largest increase in domestic consumption for more than three years. Spending on durable goods in particular was higher. The figures have been corrected for price changes and differences in shopping day patterns.
Consumers spent 5.5 percent more on durable goods in November 2005 than in the same month a year previously. They bought more clothes, leatherwear and shoes in particular. Spending on consumer electronics and furniture was up as well. Car sales, on the other hand, were in decline. Households also spent more on food, drink and tobacco than one year previously. The increase was 1.5 percent. Spending on services was up 0.7 percent.
Spending on durable goods showed a clear increase in the second half of 2005. Many households have more money to spend. One reason for this is that restrictions on the release of amounts households had saved through company savings schemes were eased, making it possible for households to pay this money into a current account between 1 September and 31 December 2005. This meant consumers could use this money for consumption, investment or to repay debts in the last months of 2005.
The released amounts paid into current accounts are not included in the total amount of savings. Households had a total of 209 billion euro in savings accounts at the end of November 2005. This amount decreased successively in September, October and November 2005. This was the first decrease since November 2002.
In September 2005 a total 268 million euro was withdrawn from savings accounts, in October 1,308 million and in November another 462 million euro. It is not possible to determine to what extent households spent or invested this money, or paid it into other savings accounts. By way of illustration of the possible effect of this: on a monthly basis consumer spending in the Netherlands amounts to around 20 billion euro.