0.1 percent economic growth

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that the Dutch economy grew by 0.1 percent in the third quarter of this year relative to the second quarter. The growth rate is based on a first estimate with data currently available. Exports, investments and consumption made a positive contribution.

The economy has shown growth for the sixth consecutive quarter. Initially, growth accelerated, but in the past two quarters the growth rate slowed down and now appears to go through a period of consolidation. At present, the economy performs above the pre-recession level.

Gross domestic product (GDP)

The follow-up of this new release deals with year-on-year comparisons

Year-on-year economic growth rate 1.9 percent

According to the first estimate, Dutch economic growth was 1.9 percent in the third quarter relative to the same period last year. Exports, investments and household and government consumption picked up. The reduced extraction of natural gas had a negative effect of approximately 0.5 percentage points on the Dutch economy. This was also the case in the second quarter.

Expenditure by category, 2015-III

Investments in residential property and transport vehicles up

Just as in the preceding three quarters, investments in residential property increased significantly in the third quarter. Companies and institutions also spent more on transport vehicles compared to one year previously. In the third quarter, more passenger cars, lorries, trailers, etc. were sold. Companies and institutions also spent more on machinery and equipment, installations, telecommunication and software.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter optimism prevailed among manufacturers. The capacity utilisation rate of machinery and installations used in manufacturing industry at the beginning of the fourth quarter was the same as at the beginning of the third quarter, when it reached the highest level since the onset of the crisis late 2008.

Consumers spend more on clothes and electronic equipment

Dutch consumer spending rose further in the third quarter compared to twelve months ago. CBS also reports today that employment and consumer confidence improved in the third quarter. In October consumer confidence reached the highest level in more than 8 years.

Consumers spent more on clothes and electrical equipment. Car sales also rose considerably compared to one year ago. Dutch consumers spent more on house rent, public transport services, visits to restaurants and hairdressers and insurance premiums. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending.

Export of petroleum derivatives and transport equipment up, natural gas export down

Exports of Dutch products grew less rapidly in the third quarter than re-exports (i.e. exports of previously imported products). Dutch exports of petroleum derivatives and transport vehicles showed sustained growth relative to the same period last year, but natural gas exports slumped. Apart from goods, the Netherlands also exported more services.

Imports of goods and services grew faster than exports. The volume of natural gas imported into the Netherlands, for example, increased substantially to offset the reduced extraction of domestic natural gas. As a result, the balance of imports and exports was negative.

Value added by sector, 2015-III

Slump in mineral extraction sector, substantial growth construction and business services

Production generated by the sector mineral extraction decreased noticeably in the third quarter  due to the reduced extraction of natural gas. The sectors construction and business services, on the other hand, showed strong growth. Construction activities increased as the housing market picked up. Within the sector business services, temp agencies performed well. This is also reflected in the employment figures released today by CBS: again, the number of temps grew substantially.

First estimate

The first estimate - 45 days after the end of each quarter - is solely based on information available at that moment. CBS thus provides a picture  of the state of the Dutch economy. After the publication of the first estimate, new economic data are continually pouring in and are used to revise and update previous estimates. The second estimate on economic growth will be published on Thursday 24 December. In absolute terms, the adjustment of the second estimate relative to the first estimate averaged 0.1 percentage points over the past half decade. The two extremes ranged between – 0.3 and + 0.4 percentage points.

With each new estimate, CBS also publishes new, seasonally adjusted figures for quarters published earlier.  On the basis of this revision, the growth rate for the second quarter of 2015 has been adjusted from 0.2 to 0.1 percent.