Minimal growth for Dutch economy

12/05/2010 15:00
  • Year-on-year growth 0.1 percent
  • Quarter-on-quarter growth 0.2 percent
  • Strong rise in exports
  • Investment continues to decrease
  • 145 thousand fewer jobs

Statistics Netherlands’ first provisional estimate puts Dutch economic growth in the first quarter of 2010 at 0.1 percent compared with the same quarter last year.

Compared with the fourth quarter in 2009, the economy grew by 0.2 percent in the first quarter, after adjustments for working day and seasonal effects. This is the third quarter in succession with positive quarter-on-quarter economic growth. The increase is smaller than  in the two preceding quarters, however.

Strong increase in exports

The volume of goods exports was nearly 11 percent larger in the first quarter of 2010 than twelve months previously. The growth was measured in both exports of Dutch products and re-exports. Exports of Dutch products rose by 8 percent. Exports were pushed up by an increased demand for chemical and metal products.

Investment spending continues to fall

Investment spending was 14 percent down in the first quarter of 2010 compared with twelve months previously. Investment in company buildings and dwellings was substantially lower. Spending on civil engineering projects also showed a hefty decrease. In 2009, investment in civil engineering projects was still higher than twelve months previously. Part of the decrease can be accounted for by the weather. The number of productive hours in the construction industry was lower in the first quarter of 2010 as a result of frost.

Slight fall in household consumption

Households spent 0.4 percent less in the first quarter than in the same quarter last year. This decrease is considerably smaller than in the second half of 2009. Households spent more on gas as a result of the cold winter. They also bought more new cars in the first quarter of this year. Consumers spent less on home furnishings and consumer electronics. Spending in the hotel and restaurant sector was substantially lower.

Manufacturing up, sharp fall in construction output

Manufacturing production rose by nearly 5 percent in the first quarter. The chemical and metal sectors did particularly well as a result of increased demand from abroad. Trade and transport also benefited form this increased demand; production in these sectors grew again for the first time since the end of 2008.

The decrease in construction output continued as new commissions fail to materialise. On top of this, the construction industry, particularly infrastructure projects, was affected by the cold weather in the first quarter of 2010.

Fewer jobs

The number of jobs of employees was 145 thousand down in the first quarter of 2010 compared with twelve months previously. This 1.8 percent decrease is at the same level as in the fourth quarter of 2009. After correction for seasonal effects, the number of jobs in the first quarter was 0.5 percent down on the fourth quarter of 2009.