Dutch economy improved 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2007 relative to one year previously. This is similar to the growth in the first quarter of this year. Compared to 2006, economic growth was severly curbed by the lower production of natural gas. The growth of household consumption and investments was slowed down. Export growth remained more or less the same. Production growth in commercial services and construction was above average, according to the first estimate of the quarterly accounts by Statistics Netherlands.
Quarter-on-quarter growth only 0.2 percent
Differences in the number of working days and seasonal effects taken into account, economic growth was a scant 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2007, relative to the preceding quarter. This quarter-on-quarter growth is the lowest in two years.
Export growth about the same as in 2006
In the second quarter of 2007, the volume of exports of goods and services was 6.4 up on the second quarter of 2006. This is almost identical to the trend in the preceding four quarters. Re-exports became more important, whereas the growth of exports of Dutch products was limited. This was mainly caused by a reduction in natural gas exports. With 6.6 percent, imports grew marginally faster exports. Many investment goods and durable consumer goods are imported.
Consumption growth households slowed down by lower gas consumption
Household spending increased by 1.6 percent in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year. The growth pace is distinctly slower than the 2.7 percent recorded in 2006. Lower gas consumption is the main cause of the slowdown. Households spent considerably more money on durable consumer goods, like cloths, means of transport and consumer electronics.
The growth of the volume of government consumption by 1.6 percent was largely generated by the care sector and only to a limited degree by public administration.
Investment growth less exuberant
Investments were 4.8 percent higher in the second quarter of this year. The increase is more modest than in the preceding two quarters. Investments in machinery and computers continued to grow. Investments in non-residential building and – to a lesser degree– in residential building picked up. The supply of aircraft was distinctly below the level of the same quarter last year.
Growth commercial service providers and construction sector above average; sharp decrease in gas production curbs economic growth
With over 4 percent, the sectors construction and commercial services showed the highest production growth. Among providers of commercial services, wholesale, business services and temp agencies performed best. The sector hotels and restaurants also performed better. After two bumper quarters, the growth pace in manufacturing industry dropped considerably to 2.0 percent. Chemical and metal products account for the slow-down. Due to the mild temperatures, the production of natural gas was again much lower than last year, which had a noticeable downward effect on economic growth. The care sector boosts growth in non-commercial services.