(Updates with details)
AMSTERDAM Dec 8 The Dutch economy will grow around 2 percent this year and next year, International Monetary Fund experts said on Thursday.
IMF Netherlands Mission Chief Thomas Dorsey said at a news conference after a visit that external risks to the trade-dependent Dutch economy were balanced by strong domestic demand that may not be fully accounted for by most models.
The most recent projections by the CPB, the forecasting office of the Dutch government, include GDP growth of 1.7 percent 2016 and 2017.
Amid a largely favourable review, Dorsey said that high household debt -- largely resulting from generous rules on deducting mortgage interest -- present one risk to the Dutch economy.
The effect is doubled because of the three big Dutch banks, ING, ABN Amro and Rabobank, all have large exposure to mortgage debt. In the event the Basel committee settles on higher risk weightings for mortgages, equity at the banks could be hit.
However, the review also noted that unemployment is falling, credit is growing, personal savings levels are high, and companies and banks have also been strengthening their cash buffers.
Dorsey said the Dutch government has room to either increase spending on infrastructure or to cut taxes, while remaining comfortably within European budgetary rules.
He said the government's deficit is set to fall to 0.7 percent of GDP in 2017, and debt-to-GDP will be around 61 percent by the end of the year. (Reporting by Toby Sterling, editing by Larry King)
Fitch Revises Wharf Holdings' Outlook to Positive; Affirms at 'A-'
(The following statement was released by the rating agency) HONG KONG, January 24 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has revised Hong Kong-based The Wharf (Holdings) Limited's Outlook to Positive from Stable. The Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) has been affirmed at 'A-'. The full list of rating actions is at the end of this commentary. The Positive Outlook is driven by Wharf's improved financial profile and the increasing stability of its China portfolio. Higher China risk exposure than its peers