Thanks to the mild lockdown, the Dutch economy is in relatively good shape, said ABN AMRO financial chief Clifford Abrahams on Wednesday during the explanation of the bank's second quarter results.
On that occasion ABN also shed light on the Dutch economy. "We see that the Netherlands has really benefited from the intelligent lockdown. As a result, the recovery is faster and the shrinkage is less than in other countries," says Abrahams.
ABN, which announced on Wednesday that it would significantly wind down its activities outside the Netherlands and Europe, still has offices all over the world and also heard from those contacts that colleagues abroad admire the Dutch approach. "We remain cautiously optimistic," says Abrahams.
Most ABN AMRO employees, like many other office staff in the Netherlands, still work at home. "We now have a policy that no more than 25 percent of the offices are used." Today, mortgage discussions with customers are conducted via video calling.
ABN expects the Dutch economy to contract by 2.6 percent over the period 2019-2021, versus a contraction of 3.7 percent in the eurozone. "The unemployment rate will remain relatively low." The bank foresees an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in the Netherlands for this year, compared to double that in the eurozone.
The bank expects the Dutch economy to contract by 5.4 percent this year and that of the eurozone by 6.9 percent. On Friday the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) will publish the Dutch figures for the second quarter.