Third quarter economic growth unchanged at 1.8 percent

  • Lowest economic growth since early 2005
  • Exports and consumer spending slowing down in particular
  • No quarter-on-quarter growth for Dutch economy in the past six months

Figures from Statistics Netherlands put Dutch economic growth at 1.8 percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared with twelve months previously. This is the lowest growth rate since the beginning of 2005. This second estimate of economic growth equals the first estimate published on 14 November 2008. The growth was realised with one working day more than in the third quarter of 2007.
Economic growth in the third quarter of 2008 is only just over half the 3.2 percent growth in the first six months of the year. The slowdown was reported across Dutch industry as a whole. Exports and consumer spending in particular were slower to rise. Investment spending remained high.

No net adjustment for economic growth
Economic growth is unchanged from the first estimate published in November. This is the result of adjustments on components of economic growth.  Investment in civil engineering projects and computers was higher, exports and consumption by households were lower than previously estimated. Production by the manufacturing industry and the trade sector were higher; production in construction, hotels and restaurants and transport lower.

Quarter-on-quarter growth 0.0 percent
Compared with the second quarter, the Dutch economy did not grow in the third quarter. After adjustment for working day and seasonal effects, the volume of the gross domestic product (GDP) was the same as in the second quarter. It is the second quarter in a row with zero growth. Quarter-on-quarter growth is also the same as in the first estimate of November.

Exports and household consumption slowing down
The volume of exports of goods and services was 3.7 percent higher in the third quarter of 2008 than in the third quarter of 2007. This increase is clearly smaller than for the whole of 2007. Both exports of Dutch manufactured products and re-exports grew by less. Imports grew by more than exports, with an increase of 4.4 percent.
Investment spending rose by more than in the whole of 2007, by 5.5 percent. More was invested in company buildings and computers, but also in machines and residential buildings. Household consumption rose by 1.0 percent. This is the lowest growth for three years. Consumers spent less on food, motor fuels, transport, and especially in hotels and restaurants. Government consumption rose as a result of higher real spending on health care.

Slower growth across most of private sector
Both goods producers and commercial services providers showed a much lower production growth in the third quarter than in previous quarters. Growth was modest in manufacturing. In the hotel and restaurant sector production was substantially down for the second quarter in succession. Growth in the temp agency sector slowed down compared with recent years. Production of natural gas did rise considerably, partly because less gas was imported. Construction output also rose strongly again. The only sectors of industry with higher production growth rates than in the first six months of 2008 were agriculture and care.

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