Economic outlook more negative

The economic situation according to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer has become more unfavourable in February. The economy is firmly in the recession stage. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that, as of mid-February, 11 out of the 13 indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer perform below their long-term trend. As of the reporting month of March 2020, measures against the spread of coronavirus have had a major impact on many indicators of the Tracer.

The CBS Business Cycle Tracer is a tool used to monitor the state and the course of the Dutch economy and is based on 13 key macro-economic indicators. Together, these provide a coherent macro-economic picture based on CBS figures which are being published over the past month or quarter. It does not necessarily represent the situation at the level of of individual households, businesses or regions.

Business Cycle Tracer indicator (unweighted average of the indicators in the CBS Business Cycle Tracer)
YearMonthcycle (distance to the long-term trend (=0))
2001January1.21
2001February1.17
2001March1.09
2001April1.02
2001May0.94
2001June0.87
2001July0.81
2001August0.75
2001September0.68
2001October0.63
2001November0.55
2001December0.47
2002January0.43
2002February0.37
2002March0.33
2002April0.32
2002May0.25
2002June0.19
2002July0.12
2002August-0.01
2002September-0.09
2002October-0.16
2002November-0.26
2002December-0.32
2003January-0.39
2003February-0.51
2003March-0.63
2003April-0.73
2003May-0.86
2003June-0.95
2003July-1
2003August-1.08
2003September-1.11
2003October-1.09
2003November-1.09
2003December-1.06
2004January-1
2004February-0.97
2004March-0.94
2004April-0.91
2004May-0.88
2004June-0.85
2004July-0.82
2004August-0.79
2004September-0.77
2004October-0.77
2004November-0.8
2004December-0.82
2005January-0.85
2005February-0.86
2005March-0.84
2005April-0.82
2005May-0.79
2005June-0.76
2005July-0.75
2005August-0.73
2005September-0.7
2005October-0.67
2005November-0.6
2005December-0.54
2006January-0.47
2006February-0.37
2006March-0.28
2006April-0.2
2006May-0.07
2006June0.04
2006July0.12
2006August0.25
2006September0.34
2006October0.39
2006November0.5
2006December0.57
2007January0.62
2007February0.72
2007March0.81
2007April0.88
2007May1
2007June1.1
2007July1.16
2007August1.24
2007September1.28
2007October1.29
2007November1.35
2007December1.4
2008January1.43
2008February1.49
2008March1.52
2008April1.51
2008May1.5
2008June1.46
2008July1.39
2008August1.31
2008September1.22
2008October1.11
2008November0.94
2008December0.77
2009January0.38
2009February0.11
2009March-0.1
2009April-0.26
2009May-0.48
2009June-0.6
2009July-0.63
2009August-0.7
2009September-0.71
2009October-0.66
2009November-0.65
2009December-0.63
2010January-0.58
2010February-0.56
2010March-0.53
2010April-0.47
2010May-0.42
2010June-0.38
2010July-0.32
2010August-0.26
2010September-0.19
2010October-0.13
2010November-0.05
2010December0.02
2011January0.08
2011February0.17
2011March0.23
2011April0.28
2011May0.34
2011June0.36
2011July0.34
2011August0.31
2011September0.24
2011October0.15
2011November0.06
2011December-0.02
2012January-0.06
2012February-0.11
2012March-0.15
2012April-0.18
2012May-0.25
2012June-0.32
2012July-0.38
2012August-0.48
2012September-0.57
2012October-0.64
2012November-0.76
2012December-0.85
2013January-0.93
2013February-1.04
2013March-1.12
2013April-1.18
2013May-1.24
2013June-1.27
2013July-1.27
2013August-1.27
2013September-1.21
2013October-1.13
2013November-1.06
2013December-0.98
2014January-0.92
2014February-0.87
2014March-0.84
2014April-0.83
2014May-0.81
2014June-0.8
2014July-0.78
2014August-0.77
2014September-0.76
2014October-0.74
2014November-0.71
2014December-0.67
2015January-0.62
2015February-0.58
2015March-0.53
2015April-0.48
2015May-0.42
2015June-0.37
2015July-0.33
2015August-0.29
2015September-0.26
2015October-0.25
2015November-0.23
2015December-0.22
2016January-0.22
2016February-0.21
2016March-0.2
2016April-0.18
2016May-0.14
2016June-0.11
2016July-0.07
2016August-0.01
2016September0.03
2016October0.07
2016November0.12
2016December0.16
2017January0.2
2017February0.27
2017March0.32
2017April0.36
2017May0.43
2017June0.47
2017July0.49
2017August0.56
2017September0.6
2017October0.63
2017November0.7
2017December0.75
2018January0.8
2018February0.86
2018March0.9
2018April0.91
2018May0.95
2018June0.95
2018July0.97
2018August0.97
2018September0.97
2018October0.95
2018November0.95
2018December0.92
2019January0.86
2019February0.86
2019March0.82
2019April0.8
2019May0.79
2019June0.75
2019July0.78
2019August0.75
2019September0.72
2019October0.69
2019November0.68
2019December0.69
2020January0.69
2020February0.71
2020March0.66
2020April0.66
2020May-0.96
2020June-1.97
2020July-1.52
2020August-1.44
2020September-1.04
2020October-0.85
2020November-0.61
2020December-0.51
'21January-0.46
'21February-0.84

Consumer and producer confidence slightly up

In January, both consumer and producer confidence were higher than in December. Producer confidence was positive for the first time since April 2020. 

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)
YearMonthConsumer confidence (average of the component questions)Producer confidence (average of the component questions)
2017January216
2017February227
2017March247.8
2017April268.3
2017May236.1
2017June237.2
2017July256.6
2017August265.4
2017September238.5
2017October238.2
2017November229.1
2017December258.9
2018January2410.3
2018February2310.9
2018March249.5
2018April258.2
2018May239.8
2018June237.7
2018July236.3
2018August215.9
2018September195.7
2018October155.9
2018November137.2
2018December97.5
2019January05.8
2019February-26.3
2019March-46.1
2019April-36.7
2019May-34.7
2019June03.3
2019July 23.9
2019August03.9
2019September-23.3
2019October-13.6
2019November-22.8
2019December-22.9
2020January-32.5
2020February-23.7
2020March-20.2
2020April-22-28.7
2020May-31-25.1
2020June-27-15.1
2020July-26-8.7
2020August-29-5.4
2020September-28-4.8
2020October-30-5.6
2020November-26-3.8
2020December-20-0.4
2021January-190.6

Household consumption, exports and investments down

In December 2020, consumers spent 11.9 percent less than one year previously. The decline was considerably larger than in the previous month (6.7 percent). Just as in the previous months, spending on services was down in particular. As a result of the closure of all non-essential shops on 15 December, spending on durable goods also declined considerably for the first time in seven months.

The total volume of goods exports was down by 0.9 percent in December year-on-year. Exports of minerals, petroleum products, machinery and appliances decreased in particular.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets was 2.8 percent down in November 2020 relative to the same month one year previously. Investments in aircraft, passenger cars and other road transport were down in particular.

Manufacturing output 0.2 percent down in December

In December 2020, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 0.2 percent down on December 2019. This is the smallest contraction since February 2020.

Slightly more bankruptcies in January

The number of corporate bankruptcies, adjusted for court session days, has increased marginally. There were 4 more bankruptcies in January than in the previous month, when the number of bankruptcies (on a monthly basis) reached its lowest level since February 1991.

House prices over 8 percent higher in December

In December 2020, prices of owner-occupied dwellings (excluding new constructions) were on average 8.3 percent higher than in the same month one year previously. The price increase was slightly less substantial than in November.

Slight decrease in number of hours worked

In Q4 2020, the number of hours worked, adjusted for seasonal effects, was 1.2 percent lower than in the third quarter. After a considerable decline in Q2 (-5.7 percent), the number of hours worked increased by 5.0 percent in Q3. In Q4, employees and self-employed worked more than 3.3 billion hours in total.

At the end of December, the number of unfilled vacancies had dropped to 210 thousand. This is 6 thousand fewer than at the end of September, when the number of vacancies had increased by 16 thousand, after two quarters of decline. At the end of 2020, the number of unfilled vacancies was 76 thousand lower than at the end of 2019.

In December 2020, there were 368 thousand unemployed (ILO definition), equivalent to 3.9 percent of the labour force. From October through December, unemployment declined by an average of 15 thousand per month. Between March and August, unemployment rose by over 150 thousand. Subsequently, it fell by nearly 60 thousand up through December.

In Q3 2020, turnover at temporary employment agencies rose by 6.6 percent. Relative to one year previously, turnover was down by 11.1 percent.

GDP down by 0.1 percent in Q4 2020

According to the second estimate conducted by CBS, gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.1 percent in Q4 2020 relative to the previous quarter. The increase was mainly due to household consumption. Relative to one year previously, GDP contracted by 2.9 percent.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
YearQuarterIndex (2010=100)
2013Quarter 1100.1
2013Quarter 299.9
2013Quarter 3100.5
2013Quarter 4101.1
2014Quarter 1101
2014Quarter 2101.6
2014Quarter 3101.9
2014Quarter 4102.8
2015Quarter 1103.4
2015Quarter 2103.7
2015Quarter 3104.1
2015Quarter 4104.1
2016Quarter 1105.1
2016Quarter 2105.3
2016Quarter 3106.5
2016Quarter 4107.4
2017Quarter 1107.9
2017Quarter 2108.9
2017Quarter 3109.7
2017Quarter 4110.5
2018Quarter 1111.1
2018Quarter 2111.7
2018Quarter 3112
2018Quarter 4112.4
2019Quarter 1113
2019Quarter 2113.4
2019Quarter 3113.8
2019Quarter 4114.3
2020Quarter 1112.6
2020Quarter 2103
2020Quarter 3110.9
2020Quarter 4110.8