The CBS figures on the retail trade in March show higher turnover, but fewer volumes sold than a year earlier in the same month. That means prices have gone up. But especially for non-food products, products that are not edible or drinkable, the price increases cannot save turnover, says FD macroeconomics editor Marijn Jongsma.
According to Jongsma, this is because people are becoming more careful about spending money. ‘But because prices are high, from a macroeconomic point of view, money just keeps rolling.’ Jongsma calls this an important prop for the economy. ‘In spite of everything, consumption remains at a reasonable level.’
This is also due to the fact that the government has shielded us somewhat from the high energy prices, explains Jongsma. ‘Although the prices there have of course fallen a bit now.’ The big question at the moment is therefore: what will these energy prices do? “We’re glad it’s low now, but we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Eurostat will publish European figures on gross domestic product (GDP) this week. Jongsma has already studied what the economists of banks and other experts predict. ‘Rabobank, for example, expects a growth of half a percent compared to the previous quarter. That quarter showed a slight contraction compared to the previous quarter.’ If that happens again, we have to speak of a recession. ‘But with all the forecasts summarized, we arrive at a growth of 0.2 percent. Looks like we’re escaping a recession.”
The dark cloud that currently hangs over the market is that banks are more critical when granting credit, Jongsma sees. The ECB has raised interest rates significantly. We have never seen it to this extent. We don’t know what the impact of that will be.’