The Dutch economy contracted for the second consecutive quarter, according to an initial estimate by the national statistics bureau Wednesday, signalling a "mild recession" for the Netherlands.
The fall recorded over the second quarter was 0.3 percent, after the first three months of 2023 showed a contraction of 0.4 percent, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said in a statement.
A decline in household consumption was a major contributor to the contraction in the last quarter, as the Dutch "mostly bought less furniture and clothing", even though spending was up in the culture and leisure sectors, the CBS said.
Foreign trade was another significant factor in the slowdown with an increase in imports and decrease in exports, particularly from the Dutch chemical industry.
"This means according to the most common definition that the Netherlands is in recession," said Peter Hein van Mulligen, chief economist for the CBS, in an online presentation Wednesday.
The figures also suggest the Dutch economy has stagnated for the fourth consecutive quarter, he added.
The lack of growth has not yet translated into a decline in the labour market, van Mulligen said.
Compared to the rest of Europe, after the decline linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dutch economy "recovered more quickly and strongly", but for the past year, it's turned the other way, he noted.
The contraction of 0.3 percent in the Netherlands contrasts with mild growth seen in France and Belgium at 0.5 and 0.2 percent respectively in the second quarter.