Economic outlook less positive

© Hollandse Hoogte / Ramon van Flymen
As of February 2022, the economic situation is less positive than in January according to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer. The outlook has had some ups and downs in recent months, remaining fairly stable on average. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that as of February,10 out of the 13 indicators in the Business Cycle Tracer are performing above their long-term trend.

The CBS Business Cycle Tracer is a tool to monitor the state and the cycle of the Dutch economy with 13 key macro-economic indicators. It presents a coherent macroeconomic picture based on all the figures published by CBS which does not apply equally to all households, companies 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))
2014January-0.84
2014February-0.81
2014March-0.79
2014April-0.78
2014May-0.76
2014June-0.75
2014July-0.74
2014August-0.73
2014September-0.72
2014October-0.71
2014November-0.68
2014December-0.64
2015January-0.59
2015February-0.54
2015March-0.48
2015April-0.44
2015May-0.39
2015June-0.34
2015July-0.31
2015August-0.27
2015September-0.24
2015October-0.23
2015November-0.21
2015December-0.2
2016January-0.2
2016February-0.19
2016March-0.17
2016April-0.15
2016May-0.1
2016June-0.07
2016July-0.03
2016August0.03
2016September0.06
2016October0.09
2016November0.15
2016December0.19
2017January0.23
2017February0.29
2017March0.35
2017April0.36
2017May0.45
2017June0.48
2017July0.51
2017August0.58
2017September0.62
2017October0.66
2017November0.71
2017December0.76
2018January0.8
2018February0.86
2018March0.89
2018April0.86
2018May0.93
2018June0.91
2018July0.93
2018August0.94
2018September0.93
2018October0.9
2018November0.87
2018December0.83
2019January0.76
2019February0.75
2019March0.71
2019April0.63
2019May0.67
2019June0.63
2019July0.64
2019August0.57
2019September0.51
2019October0.66
2019November0.49
2019December0.52
2020January0.49
2020February0.48
2020March0.4
2020April-0.21
2020May-1.21
2020June-1.92
2020July-1.7
2020August-1.51
2020September-1.08
2020October-1.15
2020November-0.73
2020December-0.56
2021January-0.61
2021February-0.88
2021March-0.7
2021April-0.8
2021May-0.19
2021Juni-0.07
2021Juli0.2
2021August0.65
2021September0.8
2021October0.61
2021November0.78
2021December0.69
2022January0.81
2022February0.59

Producer and consumer confidence deteriorated

In February 2022, consumers were again more negative than in the previous month. Consumer confidence was positioned far below the average over the past two decades. Likewise, producers were less positive compared to January. However, producer confidence is still well above its long-term average this month.

Consumer and producer confidence (seasonally adjusted)
YearMonthConsumer confidence (average of the component questions)Producer confidence (average of the component questions)
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
2021February-190.1
2021March-183.4
2021April-146.5
2021May-98.8
2021June-311.5
2021July-412.3
2021August-69.6
2021September-511.1
2021October-1012.3
2021November-1912.7
2021December-2510.2
2022January-289
2022February-308.5

Higher exports, household consumption and investments

In December 2021, the total volume of goods exports was up by 8.1 percent year on year. The increase was mainly seen in exports of chemical products, machinery and appliances. Relative to December 2019, exports were 7.5 percent higher.

Consumers spent 4.5 percent more in December 2021 than one year previously. They mainly spent more on services and durable goods. Compared to December 2019, consumers spent 7.7 percent less in December 2021.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets rose by 3.3 percent year on year in December 2021. Investments in dwellings, buildings, infrastructure and machinery were higher in particular. However, there were fewer investments in passenger cars. Relative to December 2019, investments were 3.1 percent up.

Manufacturing output almost 13 percent up in December

In December 2021, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was up by 12.6 percent on December 2020. Output grew by 10.9 percent in the previous month. In December, manufacturing output was at its highest level ever.

Fewer bankruptcies in January

The number of corporate bankruptcies, adjusted for court session days, has decreased. There were 21 fewer bankruptcies in January than in the previous month. The number of pronounced bankruptcies is historically low.

House price increase 21.1 percent in January

In January, owner-occupied dwellings (excluding new constructions) were on average 21.1 percent more expensive than in the same month last year. It is the largest price increase since the start of this statistic in 1995.

More vacancies, fewer unemployed and fewer hours worked

In Q4 2021, the number of hours worked adjusted for seasonal effects was 0.8 percent lower than in Q32 2021. Total hours worked by employees and self-employed people over Q4 2021 amounted to approximately 3.5 billion.

In the period November through January, unemployment declined by an average of 9 thousand per month, to 354 thousand in December. This is 3.6 percent of the labour force.

At the end of December, the number of unfilled vacancies stood at 387 thousand. This is 16 thousand more than at the end of the previous quarter. The increase in Q4 was less strong than in the previous three quarters, but surpassed the record of Q3 (372 thousand).

In Q3 2021, turnover at temporary employment and job placement agencies rose by 2.8 percent relative to the previous quarter. Year on year, this turnover increased by 14.2 percent.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
YearQuarterIndex (2015=100)
2014Quarter 197.3
2014Quarter 297.9
2014Quarter 398.1
2014Quarter 499
2015Quarter 199.6
2015Quarter 299.9
2015Quarter 3100.2
2015Quarter 4100.3
2016Quarter 1101.2
2016Quarter 2101.4
2016Quarter 3102.6
2016Quarter 4103.4
2017Quarter 1103.9
2017Quarter 2104.9
2017Quarter 3105.6
2017Quarter 4106.5
2018Quarter 1106.9
2018Quarter 2107.5
2018Quarter 3107.9
2018Quarter 4108.4
2019Quarter 1109
2019Quarter 2109.5
2019Quarter 3109.9
2019Quarter 4110.4
2020Quarter 1108.6
2020Quarter 299.5
2020Quarter 3107
2020Quarter 4107
2021Quarter 1106.2
2021Quarter 2110.2
2021Quarter 3112.5
2021Quarter 4113.5

0.9 percent GDP growth in Q4 2021

According to the first estimate conducted by CBS, gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.9 percent in Q4 2021 relative to the previous quarter. Growth in Q4 was largely due to increased investments and the trade balance. Public consumption also made a positive contribution to growth.

GDP growth in Q4 2021 relative to Q4 2020 amounted to 6.2 percent. With the release of data on Q4, the first provisional annual growth rate over 2021 has become available. GDP was up by 4.8 percent year on year in 2021.