The Dutch economy shrank by 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. The decrease is much smaller than in the first three quarters of 2009.
Adjusted for calendar and seasonal effects, the Dutch economy grew by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter relative to the previous quarter. For the second consecutive quarter, quarter-on-quarter growth is positive after four quarters of negative growth, but quarter-on-quarter growth is less than in the third quarter.
The volume of exports of goods and services was 2.5 percent down on the fourth quarter of 2008. The decline is much smaller than in the three preceding quarters. The volume of imports fell by 5.0 percent relative to one year previously. Additionally, investment spending in fixed assets dropped by 14.3 percent. The decline is almost the same as in the two preceding quarters.
Households also remained reluctant to spend money. They spent 2.6 percent less on goods and services than in the fourth quarter of 2008. At the same time, government consumption was 3.1 percent higher than one year previously. It was the only expenditure category to show an increase.
Output of manufactured goods was 2.1 percent down. Improved exports tempered output decline compared to prior quarters. The downturn in the construction sector (8.8 percent) is continued. Output in the sector commercial services dropped by 3.1 percent, whereas output in the sector non-commercial services grew by 1.8 percent.
Disposable for final expenditure and final expenditure (volume)