Statistics Netherlands reports that Dutch quarter-on-quarter economic growth in Q4 2015 was 0.3 percent. Growth is fuelled by investments and exports. The growth figure is based on a first estimate with data which are currently available.
This is the seventh quarter in a row showing economic growth. Simultaneously with the growth figure over Q4, the first growth figure for 2015 has become available. The Dutch economy grew 1.9 percent last year. Economic growth was curbed by approximately 0.4 percentage points as a result of the decision to reduce natural gas production.
The rest of the news release deals with economic growth relative to Q4 2014
Economic growth 1.6 percent relative to Q4 2014
According to the first estimate, year-on-year economic growth in Q4 2015 was 1.6 percent, mainly due to an increase in investments and exports. Just as in Q2 and Q3 the decision to reduce natural gas production curbed economic growth in Q4 (by approximately 0.8 percentage points).
Higher investments in cars and residential property
Corporate investments in passenger cars (leasing contracts) grew substantially in Q4. CBS figures do not provide unambiguous information about the extent to which changing tax laws have given rise to the increase in car sales. From 1 January 2016 onwards, conditions for the additional tax liability for company cars have again become stricter. In anticipation of these tax measures, many companies may have decided to buy new cars prior to 1 January.
Investing in residential property also increased considerably, albeit less rapidly than in previous quarters. Corporate investments in machinery and installations, telecommunication and software also grew. Optimism has prevailed among manufacturers since October 2014.
Noticeable increase in exports of chemical products and transport equipment
Exports of Dutch products grew faster in Q4 than re-exports (exports of previously imported products), but natural gas exports fell significantly as a result of the decision to reduce the production of natural gas. Apart from goods, the Netherlands also exported more services.
Imports of goods and services grew more rapidly than exports. Dutch imports of transport equipment and natural gas rose substantially. As a result, the balance of imports and exports was negative.
Dutch consumers spend more on furniture and electrical appliances
In Q4 2015 consumer spending was marginally up from Q4 2014. Today, CBS also reports about the recovery of the housing market and positive developments on the labour market. House sales grew by 16 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. Consumer confidence has been positive since March 2015.
Dutch consumers spent more on home furnishing and electrical appliances. They also spent more on services (hotels, restaurants, recreation and culture). Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending.
Growth sector business services, substantial decline sector mineral extraction
Output generated by the sector mineral extraction shrank further as a result of the decision to reduce production. The sector business services, on the other hand, again showed substantial growth in Q4. Within business services, production generated by temp agencies is evidently higher than in Q4 2014. This development is also reflected in the employment figures CBS is publishing today: the number of temps again grew considerably.
Manufacturing industry also saw output grow relative to one year previously. The production of chemical and pharmaceutical products grew distinctly. The sectors mineral extraction and financial institutions saw output decline.
Nearly 2 percent economic growth in 2015 compared to 2014
Simultaneously with the publication of data on Q4, the first growth figure for 2015 is released. On average, Dutch economic growth over the entire year 2015 was 1.9 percent up from 2014. Fixed asset investments were 10.3 percent above the 2014 level. Exports grew by 4.2 percent in 2015, imports by 4.9 percent compared to 2014. Household consumption was 1.6 percent up from one year previously. Government consumption was at approximately the same level as in 2014. Economic improvements with respect to 2014 are largely due to domestic spending, e.g. investments and - to a lesser extent - household consumption.
The first estimate - 45 days after the end of each quarter - is solely based on information available at that moment. CBS thus presents 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 Friday 25 March. 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 preceding quarters remained unchanged.