Economic situation again less favourable

© Nikki van Toorn
According to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer, the economic situation in March is again slightly less favourable compared to the previous month. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that eleven of the thirteen indicators in the Tracer as published mid-March are performing above the level of their long-term trend.

The CBS Business Cycle Tracer is a tool used to monitor the situation and the developments in the Dutch economy. It uses thirteen key macro-economic indicators. Together, these provide a coherent macro-economic picture which is based on CBS figures published over the past month or quarter. It does not represent the situation at the level of individual households, businesses or regions.

Business Cycle Tracer indicator (unweighted average of the indicators in the CBS Business Cycle Tracer) (distance to the long-term trend (=0))
   cycle
2011January0.13
February0.22
March0.27
April0.31
May0.36
June0.37
July0.35
August0.33
September0.26
October0.17
November0.08
December0
2012January-0.05
February-0.1
March-0.13
April-0.16
May-0.24
June-0.3
July-0.36
August-0.47
September-0.55
October-0.62
November-0.73
December-0.83
2013January-0.91
February-1.03
March-1.11
April-1.18
May-1.25
June-1.28
July-1.28
August-1.28
September-1.23
October-1.16
November-1.08
December-1.01
2014January-0.95
February-0.89
March-0.86
April-0.85
May-0.82
June-0.81
July-0.79
August-0.77
September-0.76
October-0.75
November-0.73
December-0.7
2015January-0.67
February-0.61
March-0.55
April-0.49
May-0.43
June-0.37
July-0.32
August-0.28
September-0.25
October-0.25
November-0.23
December-0.22
2016January-0.23
February-0.21
March-0.2
April-0.18
May-0.14
June-0.11
July-0.07
August-0.02
September0.02
October0.06
November0.13
December0.18
2017January0.23
February0.3
March0.35
April0.39
May0.44
June0.47
July0.49
August0.55
September0.6
October0.64
November0.71
December0.76
2018January0.8
February0.86
March0.89
April0.9
May0.94
June0.95
July0.94
August0.95
September0.94
October0.91
November0.89
December0.85
2019January0.81
February0.77
March0.73

Consumers less confident, producers more confident

The mood among Dutch consumers has deteriorated again in March compared to the previous month, while producer confidence improved in February. The producer confidence indicator remains above the long-term average. The consumer confidence indicator, however, is somewhat below the long-term average.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted) (average of the component questions)
YearMonthConsumer confidenceProducer confidence
2013January-37-5.6
February-41-3.7
March-41-5.1
April-37-5.6
May-32-4.1
June-33-3.8
July-35-3.1
August-32-1.4
September-31-2.4
October-26-0.3
November-16-0.3
December-110.1
2014January-60.7
February-2-0.1
March11.1
April40.3
May60.7
June60.7
July61.2
August20
September-2-0.2
October12
November-22.4
December-43.4
2015January-22.8
February-12
March71.4
April103.3
May114.1
June144.6
July133.7
August133.5
September113.8
October122.4
November144
December133
2016January113.2
February73.1
March23.9
April64.7
May74.4
June115.4
July95.1
August91.2
September123.4
October174.3
November213.4
December214.7
2017January216
February227
March247.8
April268.3
May236.1
June237.2
July256.6
August265.4
September238.5
October238.2
November229.1
December258.9
2018January2410.3
February2310.9
March249.5
April258.2
May239.8
June237.7
July236.3
August215.9
September195.7
October155.9
November137.2
December97.5
2019January15.8
February-26.3
March-4

Household consumption, investments and exports growing

The total volume of goods exports grew by 2.7 percent in January year-on-year, while it contracted in the previous month. Exports of petroleum products and machinery increased in particular. On the other hand, exports of electro-technical equipment were down.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was 4.9 percent up in January 2019 relative to the same month last year. Growth was more substantial than in the preceding month. Investments in dwellings, office buildings and machinery were up in particular, relative to January 2018.

Dutch household consumption was 0.9 percent up in January 2019 on January 2018. This is the lowest growth rate since mid-2016. In January, consumers spent less on cars and more on natural gas than one year previously.

Manufacturing output virtually unchanged in January

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 0.1 percent up in January 2019 compared to the same month last year. In December, output contracted for the first time in more than three years. Output in the metal products industry showed the strongest year-on-year growth.

Fewer bankruptcies

The number of corporate bankruptcies has decreased. There were 32 fewer bankruptcies in February 2019 than in the previous month. In January, the number of bankruptcies decreased by 45.

Number of jobs continues to grow

In Q4 2018, the number of full-time and part-time jobs held by employees and self-employed rose by 62 thousand to 10.5 million jobs relative to the previous quarter. Over a period of twelve months, the number of jobs grew by 239 thousand. Over 800 thousand jobs were added as of Q2 2014.

The total number of hours worked by employees and self-employed reached 3.4 billion in Q4 2018. When adjusted for seasonal effects, this is equal to the previous quarter.

In Q4 2018, the number of job vacancies rose to a new record high of 264 thousand. The number of vacancies has been above pre-crisis levels since Q2 2018.

Tension in the labour market has risen to a new high. In Q4 2018, there were 80 job vacancies per 100 unemployed. The previous record was set before the start of the economic crisis, when there were 79 vacancies per 100 unemployed.

Unemployment declined by on average 5 thousand in the last three months and stood at 312 thousand in February. This is around the same number as in November 2008, just before the economic crisis. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate in February 2019 was lower (3.4) than in November 2008 (3.6), due an increase in the labour force (unemployed and employed combined).

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted (2010=100)
   index
2011Quarter 1101.8
Quarter 2101.7
Quarter 3101.7
Quarter 4101
2012Quarter 1100.9
Quarter 2100.9
Quarter 3100.5
Quarter 499.8
2013Quarter 1100.1
Quarter 299.9
Quarter 3100.5
Quarter 4101.1
2014Quarter 1101
Quarter 2101.6
Quarter 3101.9
Quarter 4102.8
2015Quarter 1103.4
Quarter 2103.7
Quarter 3104.1
Quarter 4104.2
2016Quarter 1105.1
Quarter 2105.3
Quarter 3106.5
Quarter 4107.3
2017Quarter 1107.8
Quarter 2108.8
Quarter 3109.6
Quarter 4110.6
2018Quarter 1111.3
Quarter 2112
Quarter 3112.2
Quarter 4112.8

GDP growth 0.5 percent in Q4 2018

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.5 percent in Q4 2018 relative to the previous quarter, according to the second estimate of GDP conducted by CBS. Growth was mainly due to consumption and investments in fixed assets. GDP grew by 2.2 percent relative to Q4 2017.

On Wednesday 15 May 2019, CBS will publish the first estimate of GDP and employment over Q1 2019.

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