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UPDATE 1-Dutch economy grew 7.7% in Q3 as coronavirus lockdown was eased

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AMSTERDAM, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The Dutch economy grew at its fastest rate on record in the third quarter, as restrictions to combat the coronavirus pandemic were eased, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said on Friday.

The euro zone’s fifth largest economy grew 7.7% on a quarterly basis in the July-September period, the CBS said, as it recovered from an equally historic contraction of 8.5% in the second quarter - in which demand was crippled by a broad lockdown of the country.

Due to the pandemic, the Dutch economy shrank by a total of 3% in the first nine months of 2020, relative to its size at the end of 2019, the CBS said.

As the first wave of COVID-19 infections waned, the Dutch government eased many restrictions on public life in June and July, reopening bars, restaurants and other public places.

This boosted household consumption by an unprecedented 9%, while a similar lifting of lockdowns throughout Europe and the rest of the world led to an export boom of more than 8%.

Prospects for the fourth quarter are less rosy, however, as a rapid increase of coronavirus infections since the end of August has led to a new partial lockdown that has been in force since mid-October, closing all bars and restaurants in the country again for an indefinite period of time. (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alison Williams and Toby Chopra)