Economic outlook again less positive

© CBS / Alrik Swagerman
As of March 2022, the economic situation is less positive than in February according to the CBS Business Cycle Tracer. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that as of March, 8 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. It presents a coherent macroeconomic picture of the past month or quarter, based on all the figures published by CBS. However, it does not apply equally to all households, enterprises 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-0.8
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-0.18
2016March-0.17
2016April-0.15
2016May-0.1
2016June-0.07
2016July-0.03
2016August0.03
2016September0.06
2016October0.1
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
2018May0.92
2018June0.91
2018July0.93
2018August0.93
2018September0.93
2018October0.9
2018November0.87
2018December0.83
2019January0.76
2019February0.75
2019March0.71
2019April0.62
2019May0.66
2019June0.63
2019July0.63
2019August0.56
2019September0.51
2019October0.65
2019November0.48
2019December0.51
2020January0.48
2020February0.47
2020March0.39
2020April-0.22
2020May-1.22
2020June-1.93
2020July-1.71
2020August-1.52
2020September-1.09
2020October-1.17
2020November-0.74
2020December-0.58
2021January-0.62
2021February-0.91
2021March-0.73
2021April-0.83
2021May-0.22
2021Juni-0.1
2021Juli0.17
2021August0.6
2021September0.75
2021October0.56
2021November0.73
2021December0.64
2022January0.76
2022February0.63
2022March0.47

Producer confidence hardly changed, consumer confidence deteriorated

In March 2022, consumers were more negative than in the previous month, for the sixth month in a row. Consumer confidence was positioned far below the average over the past two decades. Producer confidence hardly changed and is still well above its long-term average this month. In consumer and producer confidence for March, the war in Ukraine plays a role for the first time.

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
2022March-398.7

Higher exports and household consumption, lower investments

In January 2022, consumers spent 11.1 percent more than one year previously. They mainly spent more on services and durable goods. Compared to January 2020, consumers spent 2.9 percent less in January 2022.

The total volume of goods exports was up by 2.7 percent year on year in January. In the previous month, exports grew by 7.8 percent. In January, the increase was mainly seen in exports of petroleum products, chemical products and transport equipment.

The volume of investments in tangible fixed assets fell by 4.7 percent year on year in January. Investments in dwellings, buildings, infrastructure and passenger cars were lower. However, there were more investments in machinery. Relative to January 2020, investments were 8.5 percent down.
 

Manufacturing output almost 8 percent up in January

In January 2022, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was up by 7.9 percent on January 2021. Output grew by 13.3 percent in the previous month.

More bankruptcies in February

There were 41 more bankruptcies in February than in the previous month. However, the number of pronounced bankruptcies is low compared to the period before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

House price increase over 20 percent in February

In February, owner-occupied dwellings (excluding new constructions) were on average 20.2 percent more expensive than in the same month last year. The price increase is slightly smaller than in the previous month, when the largest price increase (21.1 percent) was recorded since the start of the statistic in 1995.

More vacancies, fewer unemployed and fewer hours worked

In Q4 2021, the number of hours worked adjusted for seasonal effects was 0.2 percent lower than in Q3 2021. Total hours worked by employees and self-employed people over Q4 2021 amounted to approximately 3.5 billion.

In the period December through February, unemployment declined by an average of 8 thousand per month. This resulted in 336 thousand unemployed in February 2022, i.e. 3.4 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 Q4 2021, turnover at temporary employment and job placement agencies rose by 4.8 percent relative to the previous quarter. Year on year, this turnover increased by 14.5 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 1106.4
2021Quarter 2110.4
2021Quarter 3112.7
2021Quarter 4113.8

1.0 percent GDP growth in Q4 2021

According to the second estimate conducted by CBS, gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.0 percent in Q4 2021 relative to the previous quarter.  Growth in Q4 was largely due to increased public consumption, investments and the trade balance.

GDP growth in Q4 2021 relative to Q4 2020 amounted to 6.5 percent. With the release of data on Q4, the provisional annual growth rate over 2021 has become available. GDP was up by 5.0 percent year on year in 2021.