FRANKFURT (MNI) – The Netherlands is likely to return to growth
“only slowly” in the second half of this year, leaving average GDP in
the red for 2012, the OECD said Wednesday.

In its country report, the OECD confirmed its forecast for a GDP
contraction of 0.6% this year and an upturn of 0.7% in 2013. The
strength of the recovery “will depend mostly on the vigour of the
expected pick-up in world trade” and the corresponding impact on Dutch
exports, the report said.

Growth will have to depend on exports, as domestic demand is
“likely to be relatively weak over the next years,” the OECD said.
Private consumption is forecast to contract 0.7% this year and 0.2% in
2013, while total domestic demand is projected to shrink 1.5% this year
and be flat in 2013.

Weak consumption and demand will continue to push up unemployment
until the end of next year, the report predicted. The jobless rate is
forecast to rise to 5.3% this year and 5.7% in 2013.

The OECD blamed weak domestic demand on “uncertainties surrounding
pensions, house prices and financial wealth” related to real estate
values. It urged the government to maintain its fiscal consolidation
path over the short term and implement labor market and business sector
reforms to ensure the economy “continues to benefit from globlisation”
over the longer term.

— Frankfurt bureau: +49 69 720 142; email:

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