Dutch consumer confidence at all-time low as unemployment climbs

AMSTERDAM Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:48am EST

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AMSTERDAM Feb 21 (Reuters) - The contracting Dutch economy showed further signs of deteriorating on Thursday with consumer confidence reaching an all-time low and unemployment rising its highest in about 16 years.

Consumer confidence fell to minus 44 points in February from minus 35 in January, reaching the lowest point since records started in 1986, the Dutch national statistics office, Statistics Netherlands, said in a statement.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rose to 7.5 percent, or almost 600,000 of the labour population, from 7.5 percent, the statistics office said. A spokesman said on Dutch television it was the highest level in around 16 years.

The euro zone's fifth-largest economy is suffering from a drop in house prices, a building slump, falling consumer spending and investments, and is under a government austerity programme.

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