Economic growth 3.5 percent in 2007

Based on Statistics Netherlands’ first estimate of fourth quarter growth in 2007, Dutch economic growth in 2007 came to 3.5 percent. This is the highest growth rate since 2000. In 2006 economic growth was 3.0 percent.

Again exports contributed most to economic growth, but fixed capital formation and consumption also played an important part. The construction industry and commercial services showed above average production growth rates.

Economic growth 4.4 percent in fourth quarter

Dutch economic growth was 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. This is the highest growth rate for more than seven years. The fourth quarter did have one working day more than in 2006.

Exports again grew strongly in the fourth quarter of 2007. The increase in imports was considerably smaller. Household consumption also picked up strongly. Just as in the third quarter the production of natural gas boosted economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Quarter-on-quarter growth 1.2 percent

Economic growth was 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter of 2007. This quarter-on-quarter growth is the second highest in nearly four years. Only in the third quarter was it higher, at 1.9 percent.

Exports up substantially again

The volume of exports of goods and services in 2007 was 6.4 percent larger than in 2006. This is fractionally lower than the growth in 2006. Exports of Dutch manufactured products grew by nearly just as much as in 2006, while the increase in re-exports was slightly smaller. At over 10 percent, the increase in re-exports was again larger than the increase in exports of Dutch products. Imports rose by slightly less than exports. This was accounted for by a smaller increase in imports of services, as less was spent on foreign patents and licences.

Rise in household consumption

Dutch households spent 2.1 percent more than in 2006. This increase is slightly smaller than in 2006. Spending on durable consumer goods grew by most again, by over 4 percent. The volume of government consumption was 2.9 percent up on 2006. Real spending on care rose by most.

Fixed capital formation up

Spending on capital goods was 4.9 percent higher in 2007 than in 2006. Investment  in machines – the main investment category in the private sector  - rose strongly, but companies also spent substantially more on company buildings and computers. Investment in infrastructure and residential buildings was also up. The growth in fixed capital formation was tempered by a number of incidental factors, however: fewer aircraft were completed and less was spent on royalties and patents.

Production up most in commercial services and construction

Production rose in all sectors of industry in 2007. The increase was largest in commercial services and in the construction industry. Within commercial services is was largest for temp agencies, wholesale trade, companies providing IT support, accountants and economic consultancies, and banks.  Retail trade also grew substantially as consumers spent more. The construction industry benefited form the increase in investment in real estate.

Manufacturing output also grew, especially in the metal industry. The production of natural gas was much lower in the first half of 2007 than twelve months previously, while production in the second half of the year was much higher. The net production was at about the same level as in 2006. Growth in the care sector continued to grow more robustly.