Unprecedented economic decline

The Dutch economy contracted by 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009. It is the largest downturn in more than sixty years.

The Dutch economy shrank by 2.6 percent relative to the preceding quarter. So much negative quarter-on-quarter growth is unprecedented. The contraction is notably larger than in the last quarters of 2008. At that time the Dutch economy got into a recession.

Exports and investments in particular declined in the first quarter. The volume of exports of goods and services was 11.7 percent down on one year previously. Both exports of Dutch manufactured goods and re-exports plummeted. The decline in the exports of services was not as sharp. Imports also nosedived. The volume of imports of goods and services decreased by 10.4 percent.

Fixed capital formation decreased by 9.5 percent. Households also spent less than twelve months before for the first time in four years. They spent 2.4 percent less on goods and services. The volume of government consumption was up by 2.5 percent on the first quarter of 2008. It was the only expenditure category showing growth.

Production of goods manufacturers was 7.2 percent below the level in the first quarter of 2008. Manufacturing output plunged. Production of commercial service providers also dropped, by a considerable 4.2 percent. Output of non-commercial services was 1.9 percent higher than one year previously.

Disposable for final expenditure and final expenditure (volume)

Disposable for final expenditure and final expenditure (volume)