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RAPPORT

CFO Survey 2015 Q4 results

Fundamentals stay strong

Netherlands

According to the December forecast of CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis economic growth in the Netherlands will be more than 2 percent in 2015 and 2016 – the first time since the credit crisis started in 2008. This growth is driven by increasing household consumption and investments as well as higher export levels. However, economic growth in the third quarter of 2015, as reported by national statistics office CBS, was only 0.1 percent.

Unemployment is unlikely to decline next year despite the Netherlands emerging from recession, the latest forecast from the Dutch central bank says. The number of people out of work is expected to stand at 615,000 at the end of 2016 or 6.9 percent of the working-age population, equal to the present level. In 2017 the figure is expected to fall slightly to 606,000.

The Dutch housing market continued its recovery. Compared to one year earlier, house prices in November were almost 4 percent higher. This is the most substantial increase in 7.5 years, according to CBS. The land registry office, reported that almost 15,000 houses changed hands in November, a 24 percent increase year-on-year.

Eurozone

The Eurozone economy grew 0.3 percent in the third quarter, after 0.4 percent in the second quarter. The forecast for the fourth quarter is 0.25 percent growth.

Against the backdrop of weak economic performance over the last years, there is a clear, positive longer-term trend. The growth drivers remain largely the same. Exports develop more than expected, driven by the devaluation of the euro. Also, private consumption further gains momentum, driven by somewhat lower rates of unemployment and low energy prices.

Early indicators also point in a positive direction for the near future. The Eurozone purchasing managers’ index in December stands at 54.0, solidly in positive territory (values over 50 signal expansion), pointing to further solid expansion in the coming quarters. Still, Eurozone growth forecasts for 2015-2017 have improved only marginally. The Eurozone’s expansion for 2015 is forecast at 1.5 percent, followed by 1.6-1.7 percent growth over 2016-2017.

Global

On 16 December, Chair of the Federal Reserve (Fed) Janet Yellen said that that the economy of the United States (US) is performing well and that the central bank of the US would raise short-term interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis – the start of a gradual tightening path and the end of a seven-year experiment with near-zero interest rates.

Emerging markets are experiencing a new type of crisis: a growth crisis. Economic growth is slowing down
due to weak commodity prices and a lack of economic reforms. China’s growth in the third quarter was 6.9 percent, close to the government’s target of around 7 percent. Forecast for 2015 is some 6.7 percent, and gradually declining to some 6.2-6.4 percent over 2016-2017.

In 2016, the headlines will also be about the threat of terrorism and the migrant crisis. Impact on the economy will be limited, however. Fluctuations in exchange rates and oil prices are expected to have greater impact on economic growth. 

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