The Dutch government's financial think-tank has joined the central bank in forecasting a recession in 2013 due to waning global trade prospects.

The country's Central Planning Bureau said today that the Dutch economy would shrink 0.5%, in contrast to its previous forecast of 0.75% growth.

Last week the central bank predicted a 0.6% contraction, reversing its previous forecast of a 0.6% expansion.

If the Dutch economy shrinks again in the fourth quarter after the 1.1% quarterly contraction recorded in the third quarter, it will be in recession, officially defined as two quarters of negative growth in a row.

Because the recession will likely dent tax revenues and increase welfare payments, both forecasters are predicting that the country's budget deficit will be slightly above the 3% of GDP limit mandated by European rules.

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said earlier this week that he was aware of the worsening projections but that he has no plans to alter the budget struck last month.

The new Dutch government is bent on austerity via a mix of spending cuts to please Prime Minister Mark Rutte's ruling conservative VVD party, and tax increases for the wealthy, a goal of the other coalition partner, Dijsselbloem's left-leaning Labour Party.

The Dutch economy is regarded as one of the most robust in Europe, with a tradition as a haven for free trade, as well as a centre of engineering expertise. It has a host of international companies and strong transport links such as the port of Rotterdam and Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.

However, it has seen its fortunes wane recently as trade was hit by the anemic growth across the euro zone and an aggressive government cost-cutting programme. Attempts to reform the mortgage system have hit house prices and caused dislocation in the construction sector. Unemployment, currently at 6.25%, is forecast to peak next year at 7%.

Despite its current problems, the Netherlands continues to have a triple A credit rating from the three main agencies, though Standard & Poor's recently put the country on notice that it may suffer a downgrade.

Dijsselbloem, with less than two months on the job as a top government executive, has become a surprise favourite to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the Eurogroup, the body that encompasses the finance ministers of the 17 euro countries.

Dijsselbloem has said he would consider taking the position if it were offered him. Germany has insisted Juncker's replacement must come from a triple A-rated country.