Dutch Consumer Confidence Deteriorates as Recession Lingers

Dutch consumer confidence deteriorated to the lowest level since March as the Netherlands struggles to emerge from a recession.

A gauge of consumer confidence in the euro-area’s fifth largest economy dropped to minus 38 from minus 36 in June, national statistics bureau CBS in The Hague said today. The index has been negative since September 2007.

“Dutch consumers were more pessimistic about their own financial situation in the next twelve months than in June,” the statistics agency said. “Their willingness to buy remained low.”

The Netherlands is in its third recession in four years. Gross domestic product fell 1.8 percent in the first quarter on an annual basis. The government’s planning agency said on June 14 GDP will decline 1 percent this year. For 2014 it foresees growth of 1 percent.

Unemployment climbed to 8.5 percent in June versus 8.3 percent a month earlier. According to calculations of the International Labor Organization, unemployment was at 6.8 percent versus 6.6 percent in June.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government is trying to narrow its budget gap with a four-year, 16 billion-euro ($21 billion) austerity package. The coalition also has to agree on additional austerity measures of 6 billion euros to meet the European Union’s deficit limit of 3 percent of GDP in 2014.

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