FILE PHOTO: People walk past restaurants and bars in Amsterdam, Netherlands October 14 2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
February 15, 2022
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Dutch economy grew 0.9% on a quarterly basis in the fourth quarter of last year, official data showed on Tuesday, even as a surge in coronavirus infections closed down bars, restaurants and many stores towards the end of the year.
The euro zone’s fifth largest economy expanded 4.8% over the whole of 2021, which made up for the unprecedented decline of 3.8% a year before when strict lockdowns crippled production and demand.
Growth last year was mainly fuelled by a boom in consumer spending as the country opened up gradually from April to October, when the rise of the Delta variant threatened to swamp hospitals again with COVID-19 cases.
Consumer spending, however, fell 0.1% in the final three months of 2021 as coronavirus restrictions were reintroduced, while business investments went up almost 3%.
Bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen again under strict conditions earlier this year, and the government last week said it intends to remove most coronavirus restrictions by the end of the month.
The Dutch economy is expected to grow 3.5% this year, government policy adviser CPB said in September.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)