2013-09-30 16:07:24 - Recently published research from Business Monitor International, "Netherlands Freight Transport Report Q4 2013", is now available at Fast Market Research
Recession Continues In 2013
We continue to see the Dutch economy stuck in recession in 2013, with positive growth not expected until next year. GDP fell by 1.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q113, affected by a collapse in fixed investment, lower government spending, and the ongoing worries about eurozone finances. The centrist coalition government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte continues to have a struggle on its hands to bring the fiscal deficit under control. Some signs of resilience in consumer spending and net exports during the first three months of the year were not enough to change the overall picture. Looking forward to the rest of this year we believe consumer sentiment will be weak, with a combination of rising unemployment, economic
uncertainty, falling property prices, and weak credit supply all playing a part. BMI expects GDP to contract by 0.6% in 2013 and to be followed by 1.1% growth in 2014. Next year's growth will be driven by a gradual recovery in confidence across the eurozone, as speculation over the break-up of the single currency now begins to fade away.
Full Report Details at
- www.fastmr.com/prod/686334_netherlands_freight_transport_report_ ..
We have again trimmed back our freight forecasts across different transport modes. While most are likely to see cargo volume growth in a lower 0.5%-2% range, growth will remain positive in spite of an actual contraction in overall GDP during 2013. There are various reasons for this, with perhaps the most important being the country's role as a gateway into northern Europe. This means that freight demand reflects not just the fortunes of the Dutch economy, but also those of a number of better-performing neighbours in northern Europe.
Headline Industry Data
* Port of Rotterdam bulk throughput forecast for 2013: growth of 1.0% to 445,942mn tonnes. Container traffic to expand by 1.2% to 12.008mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
* 2013 Port of Amsterdam bulk throughput forecast to grow by 1.2% to 78.195mn tonnes. Container traffic to grow by 0.5% to 43,764 TEUs.
* 2013 rail freight total tonnage volume growth to come in at 1.5%, to reach 38.479mn tonnes.
* 2013 road freight total tonnage volume growth to come in at 1.4%, to reach 550.304mn tonnes.
* 2013 inland waterway freight total tonnage volume growth to come in at 1.7% to reach 360.687mn tonnes.
* 2013 total trade growth forecast set at 2.8% in real terms - similar to 2012.
* Export growth remains sluggish, at 2.5%, for both 2012 estimates and 2013 forecasts.
Key Industry Trends
Another Rail Link To Germany: The German government has signed a financial agreement with the port of Rotterdam for the construction of a third rail line between Emmerich and Oberhausen, reports the Journal of Commerce. Hans Smits, CEO at Port of Rotterdam Authority, believes the rail line is an important milestone in the extension of the Betuwerourte, a freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany. The move will see the construction of tunnels and bridges, with the project scheduled for completion in 2022. Marginal First Half Growth At Schiphol Airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has confirmed it handled 736,608 metric tonnes of cargo in H113 representing a rise of 1.02% compared to H112. The airport's exports in the six-month period increased to 362,124 metric tonnes which represents 49.16% of the total cargo, while the proportion of imports declined marginally to 50.84% of total cargo at 374,484 metric tonnes. Schiphol said its largest market remained Asia with 281,410 metric tonnes, which accounted for 38.2% of total cargo while North America remained the airport's second largest market with an overall share of 17% year-on-year.
Mixed Performance At Rotterdam: The port of Rotterdam registered a 1% year-on-year increase in container throughput to 5.9mn twenty-foot equivalent units in H113, compared with 5.86mn TEUs in H112. However, overall cargo volume recorded a 0.9% y-o-y fall to 219.7mn tonnes in the reported period. The port claimed that the decline was in part driven by feeder diversion from the Baltic to north German ports and overcapacity in the container shipping industry.
Key Risks To Outlook
BMI notes two key risks to our economic growth and freight forecasts in 2013 - one specific and one systematic. The Dutch property market poses a key risk to consumer spending and broader economic stability. We have previously warned that the Netherlands' strong current account surplus was key to propping up the property market since by importing foreign demand unemployment is kept low, which in turn should limit the proportion of mortgages going into arrears. With unemployment grinding higher and the four-quarter rolling current account surplus potentially reaching an inflexion point, the property market is coming under greater stress. Should prices continue to fall, there is a risk of the correction proving more destabilising to the broader economy than we currently anticipate. This would ultimately lead to slower growth and lower freight demand.
The main systemic risk facing the economy comes from the eurozone. Although we hold a relatively more optimistic assessment of the euro area following the ECB's pledge in 2012 to provide a backstop to the peripheral sovereign bond markets, we stress that the crisis is not over. Instead, we believe that the crisis has moved on from an acute to a more chronic phase. Stagnant growth, high and rising unemployment and uncertainty over future reforms required to form a combined political, fiscal and banking union, provide significant cause for concern.
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