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Dutch economy shrank 0.5% in Q1 amid coronavirus lockdown

AMSTERDAM, May 18 (Reuters) - The Dutch economy shrank 0.5% in the first three months of 2021 from the previous quarter as a lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus hit demand and triggered a recession, the national statistics office said on Tuesday.

The euro zone’s fifth largest economy shrank for the second quarter in a row, after contracting 0.1% in the final months of 2020.

Economists in a Refinitiv poll had on average predicted gross domestic product would fall 0.6% in the first quarter.

Domestic consumption decreased 3.5%, as bars and restaurants remained shut throughout the January-March period, while non-essential stores had only very limited options to serve customers.

Despite lockdowns being enforced across the globe, exports grew almost 2%.

The Dutch economy is expected to rebound with a growth of 2.2% this year, the government’s main policy adviser said in March, if the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations helps to curb the spread of the disease.

Since last month, some restrictions have been eased, with outdoor service allowed at cafes and restaurants and the reopening of stores.

The Dutch economy shrank 3.7% over the whole of last year, putting 2020 on par with 2009 as its worst year on record.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: Reuters


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