Dutch Consumer Sentiment Unchanged as Economic Recession Lingers

Dutch consumer confidence remained unchanged in September after unemployment dropped, indicating the country’s recession is easing.

A gauge of consumer sentiment in the euro area’s fifth-largest economy held at minus 33, the highest level since May, national statistics bureau CBS in The Hague said today. The index has been negative since October 2007.

“Consumers were a bit more pessimistic in September about their economic situation in the next 12 months than a month earlier,” the statistics agency said. While they were also bleaker about their financial situation for the next year, they were less negative about buying bigger items, CBS added.

The pace of economic contraction in the Netherlands, which is in its third recession in five years, is slowing. Gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter after declining 0.4 percent in the three months through March. The government’s planning agency CPB predicts the economy will contract 1.25 percent this year and grow 0.5 percent in 2014.

Joblessness dropped to 8.6 percent in August from 8.7 percent in July, mainly driven by a decline in youth unemployment, CBS said in a separate report today.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government announced cost cuts and tax increases of 6 billion euro ($8 billion) on Sept. 17. The amount comes in addition to a four-year, 16 billion-euro package the coalition of the Liberal and Labor parties approved in November last year when they took office.

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