The Dutch economy shrank at the fastest pace in the first quarter as a result of the corona crisis since the low point of the financial crisis in 2009. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this.
Mainly due to the forced closings of cafés, restaurants and other catering establishments in March, the gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 1.7 percent compared to the previous period. “In March the economy was hit head-on by the virus,” chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen of Statistics Netherlands summarizes the situation. The only time the economy slipped faster in a quarter was in the first three months of 2009, when there was a 3.6 percent contraction. That was the largest quarterly shrinkage ever measured by Statistics Netherlands, which started with growth statistics in the 1990s.
The contraction puts an end to a period of economic growth that lasted 23 quarters in a row. The Dutch economy shrank by 0.5 percent annually.
According to the chief economist, a sudden decrease in household spending was the main cause of the contraction. In March, consumption fell by 6.7 percent compared to a year earlier. That is the largest decrease since World War II, says Van Mulligen.
Consumers spent 2.7 percent less in the whole quarter than in the previous three months. This was the biggest downturn since the series started in 1987. Expenditure on catering, recreation and culture in particular fell sharply. More was spent on food.