Economy grows by 2.9 percent

The Dutch economy saw robust growth in the first quarter of 2006. The gross domestic product (GDP) was up by 2.9 percent on the year before. It is the highest growth rate in over five years. Exports contributed substantially to the economic recovery in the first quarter of 2006. The increase in household consumption was another major impulse.

The volume of GDP in the first quarter of 2006, corrected for calendar and seasonal effects, was 0.1 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2005. The first quarter of 2006 had two working days more than the first quarter of 2005. The 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter growth is clearly less than in the previous three quarters.

Households spent 2.6 percent more in the first quarter of 2006 than in 2005. This is the largest increase for years. People spent more on durable consumer goods in particular. The volume of government consumption was up by 0.3 percent on the same quarter in 2005. These figures have been corrected for changes in the health care system.

The volume of exports of goods and services was up by 8.3 percent in the first quarter on twelve months previously. Exports rose by much more than the 5.5 percent average of 2005. The growth is mainly due to re-exports, although exports of Dutch manufactured products also grew substantially. The import growth rate (8.7 percent) was higher than that of the exports. The increase in imports was not only caused by re-exports but also by the recovery of domestic expenditure and production. In the first quarter of 2006 investments were up by 4.4 percent on the same quarter of 2005. The recovery of investments has become broader.

Disposable for final expenditure and final expenditure (volume)

Disposable for final expenditure and final expenditure (volume)