Dutch economic growth 2.7 percent in fourth quarter

According to the second estimate of Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch economy grew by 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006 compared with the same quarter in 2005. The growth was realised with one working day fewer. The result for the fourth quarter is the same as that according to the first estimate, published on 13 February. Economic growth for the whole of 2006 is also unchanged, at 2.9 percent.

Both fixed capital formation and exports picked up in the fourth quarter. Household consumption, grew more slowly than in the first three quarters of 2006, however. 

Quarter-on-quarter growth 0.6 percent

After correction for seasonal and working day effects, fourth quarter economic growth was 0.6 percent compared with the third quarter of 2006. This quarter-on-quarter growth is at almost the same level as in the first three quarters of 2006.

Exports and investment grow more quickly, consumption slows down

The 2.7 percent economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2006 was hardly lower than in the first three quarters. The volume of exports of goods and services grew by more than in the previous quarters: 7.9 percent. In addition to re-exports, the increase in exports of Dutch manufactured products played and increasingly important role. Imports grew by more than exports, not only because of re-exports, but also because of the increase in fixed capital formation.

Fixed capital formation rose by more than 10 percent. Businesses invested more in machines, computers and goods vehicles. More dwellings were built as well. Household consumption was up 2.0 percent. This was a smaller increase than in earlier in 2006 as the growth in consumer spending on durable goods was smaller, and consumers used less natural gas because of the mild autumn.

Highest production growth for manufacturing, construction and commercial services

Manufacturing production was nearly 4 percent higher than twelve months previously, mainly through the rise in exports. Higher investment in dwellings and infrastructure stimulated construction output. Providers of commercial services also had more work, especially those in the trade, business services and temp agency sectors. Production growth in non-commercial services lagged behind somewhat, while energy production was tempered by more imports and lower gas consumption.