Amsterdam - The Dutch economy is expected to recover much faster from its coronavirus slump than expected, as the rollout of vaccinations lets businesses reopen, government policy adviser CPB said on Tuesday. The euro zone's fifth largest economy is set to grow 3.2% this year, the CPB said, following last year's contraction of 3.7%, as consumers up their spending while unemployment remains low: "Permanent economic damage due to the coronavirus pandemic remains limited," the government's main adviser said.
In March the CPB predicted 2021 growth of only 2.2%, as the country was still largely in lockdown due to a massive wave of coronavirus infections. In recent weeks, however, vaccinations have pushed infections back to their lowest levels in more than nine months, allowing bars, restaurants and stores to reopen. Last Friday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said most restrictions on public life would be lifted, as long as people kept 1.5 metres (5 feet) apart.
The CPB kept its 2022 outlook roughly unchanged at 3.3%. Unemployment is predicted to stay at the historically low level of around 4% throughout next year, as government support helped many companies survive the crisis. The government's deficit is set to swell to 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, but is expected to shrink to 1.5% in 2022 as support is phased out.