Available household income 3.2 percent down in 2012

  • Sharpest fall in available income in over 20 years
  • Mortgage debt rises by only 0.1 percent
  • Lower business profits

Real disposable income of households in the Netherlands has fallen for the fifth year in a row: by 3.2 percent in 2012. This is the largest decrease in disposable income since the series started in 1982. The decrease was caused by lower employment, higher tax and premium transfers, and inflation. At 2.5 percent, inflation was well above the average 1.6 percent rise is collectively negotiated wage rates. Partly because of the fall in income, consumption expenditure by households fell by 1.4 percent in 2012.

The financial capital of households rose by 127 billion euros in 2012, to 1.1 trillion euros. This was mainly the result of the substantial increase in capital held by pension funds and life insurance companies. The value of share portfolios held by households themselves rose by 12 billion euros as a result of new acquisitions and share price developments. Because of the stagnation on the house market and higher mortgage repayments, the total mortgage debt rose by only 0.1 percent. In the years 1994-2007 this mortgage debt rose by an average 12 percent per year.

Net profits of non-financial companies fell by 4.4 billion euros to 111 billion euros in 2012. The decrease was mainly the result of poorer results of foreign subsidiaries. Profits of foreign subsidiaries were 4.1 billion euros down, at 35 billion euros. Total profits of non-financial companies were around 6 billion euros below the level of before the financial crisis.

Net profits of financial institutions fell by 6.3 billion euros in 2012, to 18 billion euros. Profits fell both at home and abroad. In 2007, before the credit crisis started, financial institutions achieved profits of 30 billion euros, over half of which was accounted for by foreign subsidiaries. In 2012, the fall in profits was largest for banks and other financial institutions, such as investment institutions and financing companies. Profits of insurance companies and pension funds increased slightly in 2012.