Netherlands economy: First rise in consumer spending since July 2011

Event

Data published by the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS, the national statistics office) show that the volume of consumer spending on goods and services rose by 0.2% year on year in November 2013 (shopping-day adjusted), versus a decline of 1% in October. This was the first year-on-year increase since July 2011.

Analysis

The CBS noted that November 2013 featured higher sales of cars, alongside clothing and footwear. But the 0.2% year-on-year rise in overall household expenditure was essentially explained by weak spending in November 2012, when a 3% annual decline was recorded (itself the worst reading since August 2009). This followed front-loading of purchases prior to an increase in the standard rate of value-added tax (VAT) on October 1st 2012. Accordingly, spending on more expensive items (such as cars) was flattered during November 2013 - sales of durable goods were up by 4.6% year on year, versus a decline of some 12.2% a year earlier.

Spending on “other goods” fell by 1.4% year on year, following a contraction of 5.1% in October. Food, beverages and tobacco declined by 1.2% in the year to November compared with a decrease of 1.6% previously, while spending on services contracted by 0.2%, the same rate as in October.

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