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Netherlands: Country Economic Forecast: 23 Feb 2012

10 Pages Oxford Economics February 23, 2012 SKU: OFE3790002

The Netherlands is officially back in recession, with GDP having fallen by 0.7% in 2011Q4 after declining 0.4% in Q3. Though recent survey data have been firmer, GDP is likely to continue to fall in 2012Q1 and the economy to remain in recession throughout 2012H1. The openness of the economy has left it heavily exposed to the worsening Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, while domestic demand has continued to struggle and been unable to offset the external weakness. Providing there is no escalation of the crisis, we expect recovery to follow in 2012H2. By then households should be seeing their incomes growing in real terms once more, with inflation set to slow sharply, while a more stable external environment should underpin an improvement in export prospects and a gradual strengthening in business confidence, encouraging firms to spend their cash surpluses. Under these circumstances, GDP is forecast to decline by 0.8% in 2012, before recovering to grow 1.5% in 2013. The government has remained firm in its commitment to its austerity programme and has hinted there could be further austerity measures should weak growth prevent it from achieving its targets. However, we would question whether this would be the right approach and, with the public finances in considerably stronger shape than in many other Eurozone countries, we would argue in favour of a temporary loosening of fiscal policy to help to stimulate the economy were the recession to deepen.

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Netherlands: Country Economic Forecast: 23 Feb 2012

Oxford Economics
February 23, 2012

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