Economic unrest in the Netherlands: Trade activity slows down, number of bankruptcies rises

Reading time: 5 minutes | Written by Shirley Chih | May 7, 2024

Press releases

Rotterdam, May 7, 2024 – Dutch companies engaged in less intensive trade in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the previous quarter. This is evident from a recent analysis of Altares Dun & Bradstreet. The trade intensity decreased by 0.7 to a level of 82.2 compared to the previous quarter. After six consecutive quarters of increase, bankruptcies have returned to the level seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. This brings the number of bankruptcies in the first quarter of this year to 1,007.

Decline for hospitality and mining

The decrease in trade intensity had implications for various sectors, with restaurants and cafes (-10.0), mining (-5.6), and hotels (-4.2) registering significant declines in trade activity. However, there were also sectors that saw an increase in trade activity, such as financial services (+2.8), government (+1.3), and construction (+1.3). The overall payment behavior of Dutch companies remained stable, with this quarter showing slightly faster payments than the previous quarter.

Bankruptcies impact Trade, Construction, and Service sectors

In the first quarter of 2024, the number of bankruptcies increased to 1,007, a rise of 12.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2023. Compared to the previous year, the number of bankruptcies even saw a leap of 38.6%. Trade (198), construction (147), and specialized business services (117) were the most affected. Relatively, most bankruptcies occurred in the transportation and storage sectors (0.18%), hospitality (0.17%), and industry (0.13%).

The lack of investments indicates a weak economic climate

"In the past six quarters, we have seen a gradual increase in the number of bankruptcies in the Netherlands. Although this trend is evident, there is currently no sign of an explosive surge. The latest quarter shows a level comparable to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic, so there is currently no cause for concern in that regard," said Barry de Goeij, data scientist at Altares Dun & Bradstreet.

"Despite this observation, several economic indicators continue to point to a weak economic climate, such as the lagging investments for several months. Additionally, it's noteworthy that growth in the United States in the past quarter has been less robust than initially expected. This slowdown is partly attributed to weaker consumer spending and a decrease in exports. This development could potentially have repercussions for the Dutch economy, especially in terms of exports. Therefore, we are closely monitoring the developments," concludes Barry de Goeij, Senior Data Scientist at Altares Dun & Bradstreet.

You can view the entire report here.

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Shirley Chih

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