First provisional figures of Statistics Netherlands: economy grew faster in the fourth quarter

13/02/2015 15:00

The first provisional figures of economic growth, based on the currently available data, show that the Dutch economy in the fourth quarter of 2014 was up by 0.5 percent on the previous quarter. This increase is pretty much across the board as household consumption, exports and investments all made positive contributions. This is the third quarter in a row in which the economy grew, according to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands released today. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2013 the economy has expanded by 1.0 percent

First provisional figures

The first provisional figures are published 45 days after the end of the quarter concerned, on the basis of the then available information. In doing so Statistics Netherlands provides an initial picture of the state of the economy. After these initial calculations, much more information about the Dutch economy will become available, which is included in the next set of calculations. Statistics Netherlands will make the next provisional figures available on Thursday 26 March 2015. The absolute adjustment of the second set of provisional figures compared to the first has averaged around 0.1 percent point in the last five years. The two extremes were -0.3 and +0.4 percent points.

With each new calculation Statistics Netherlands also determines the new seasonally adjusted figures of previously published quarters. These recalculations have led to an adjustment of third quarter growth for 2014 from 0.1 to 0.2 percent and of first quarter growth from -0.4 to -0.3.

The next section of this news item deals with year-on-year comparisons

According to the first provisional figures the Dutch economy grew by 1.0 percent on the previous year
According to the first provisional figures, the Dutch economy in the fourth quarter of 2014 was up by 1.0 percent on the fourth quarter of 2013. This expansion is due to growing exports, greater investments and more consumption by consumers. Government consumption contracted slightly.

Substantial increase in the exports of means of transport, metal and machinery

The fourth quarter saw an increase in the exports of Dutch products and in re-exports. The Netherlands exported substantially more means of transport, metal and metal products and machinery. A considerable contribution to the growth of goods exports was made by the exports of food and chemical products. Only the exports of crude oil and agricultural products turned out to be somewhat lower than in the fourth quarter of 2013.  Apart from goods, the Netherlands also exported more services, especially transport services.

Consumers are spending more

Consumers spent more in the fourth quarter of 2014 than in the fourth quarter of 2013. This is in line with the recovery of employment, about which Statistics publishes new figures today, as well as the recovery of the housing market. In 2014, 40 percent more homes changed owners than in 2013.

Consumers spent more on furniture and electrical equipment (such as the latest smartphones).  They also purchased more bicycles than a year ago, as company sponsored bike buying schemes were about to end. Consumer spending on services such as hotels and restaurants, recreation and culture were also substantially higher.

More invested in homes, machinery and installations

In the fourth quarter of 2014 much more was invested in dwellings than in the fourth quarter of 2013. Companies also invested more in machinery and installations, telecommunications and software. This is in line with rising capacity utilisation and increased producer confidence in the manufacturing industry. However, investments in cars fell quite sharply. This is partly because many cars were bought in the fourth quarter of 2013, when companies anticipated fiscal changes that would make cars more expensive.

ICT, hotels and restaurants and business services are growing

The sectors information and communication (ICT), hotels and restaurants and business services produced more than in the fourth quarter of 2013. Within business services it is the travel and the temp agencies that performed particularly well. This is also reflected in the figures on the job market that Statistics Netherlands is publishing today. There is quite an increase in the number of temp workers, as well as in the number of jobs in hotels and restaurants and ICT. Furthermore, production in construction was up thanks to the recovery of the housing market.

Economy in 2014 up by 0.8 percent on 2013, on balance

The economy as a whole in 2014 was on average 0.8 percent greater than in 2013. This is the first annual growth after two years in which the economy contracted. Dutch exports grew by 3.9 percent in 2014, imports increased by 3.8 percent on 2013. Fixed capital formation was up by 2.3 percent. Household and government consumption stayed about the same as in 2013.