Statistics Netherlands announced today that the volume of investment in tangible fixed assets was 2.8 percent lower in December 2014 than in December 2013. The decrease is mainly caused by lower investments in road transport. In November, investments fell by 0.8 percent.
In the period October 2013-May 2014, investments showed an upward trend. In the following months negative and positive growth figures were recorded. This was mainly due to an erratic investment pattern in construction projects. On balance, investments have risen in 2014 relative to 2013. The current investment level is far below the pre-recession level at the end of 2008.
Investment figures are not adjusted for differences in the number of working days. December 2014 had one working day more than December 2013.
Lower investments in transport equipment
In December 2014, investments in road transport, e.g. (articulated)lorries, fell significantly, while in December 2013, investments in these types of transport equipment were very high. In January 2014, new European emission standards became effective.
Car sales were also far below the level recorded in December 2013, when they were twice as high as in December 2012. The growing car sales in December 2013 were partly caused by tax law changes and stricter emission standards. On 1 January 2014, the limits for CO2 emission, which affect the tax on passenger cars and motorcycles (BPM) and the additional tax liability for company cars, became stricter. Therefore, many companies decided to buy new cars prior to 1 January 2014.
Investments in machinery, residential property and infrastructural projects, on the other hand, were higher than in December 2013.
Investment climate improves in February
According to the Investment Radar, the investment climate in the Netherlands improved in February compared to January. The growth of exports, for example, was more substantial than last month. Dutch share prices also rose more rapidly than in the preceding month. By means of six indicators, the Investment Radar shows whether the investment climate has become more or less favourable.
For more information on economic indicators, see the Economic Monitor.