Steady economic growth

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Relative to Q4 2015, the Dutch economy continued to grow in Q1 2016. According to a first estimate based on data currently available, growth was 0.5 percent. In this news release Statistics Netherlands (CBS) provides a first picture of the economic situation in the Netherlands. The growth in Q1 is found across the various parts of the economy; consumption, investments and exports all made a positive contribution.

The Dutch economy is steadily growing, now showing eight consecutive quarters of economic improvement. On an annual basis, economic growth in Q1 was estimated at 1.4 percent. The decision to reduce natural gas extraction had a negative effect on economic growth of approximately 0.7 percentage points.

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth relative to the first quarter of 2015

Year-on-year economic growth 1.4 percent in Q1 2016

According to the first estimate, year-on-year economic growth in Q1 2016 was 1.4 percent, investments and exports being the main contributors.

More invested in dwellings and cars

In Q1 too, investments in transport equipment and residential property increased considerably. Corporate investments in trucks, semitrailers, aircraft and other modes of road transport grew significantly. Companies also spent more on passenger cars, computers and software than one year previously. This is consistent with the positive mood among producers. At the beginning of Q1 producer confidence reached the highest level in four and a half years.

Substantial growth exports of transport equipment

The growth rate of exports was the same in Q1 2016 as in the preceding quarter, although exports of Dutch products grew less rapidly in the past quarter than re-exports, i.e. exports of products previously imported. The export of transport vehicles rose noticeably compared to one year ago. Exports of natural gas, machinery and equipment, on the other hand, contracted. Apart from goods, the Netherlands also exported more services.

This quarter too, imports of goods and services grew faster than exports. The Netherlands imported more electrical machinery and petroleum derivatives. As a result, the balance of imports and exports made a negative contribution to economic growth.

Dutch consumers spend more on services

Consumer spending was also up in Q1 relative to Q1 2015. Dutch consumers spent more in hotels and restaurants and on recreational and cultural activities. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending. Consumers also spent more on electric appliances, food products and home furnishings. Since February last year, the consumer confidence indicator has almost continuously been positive. Foreigners also spent considerably more in the Netherlands than in the same period last year, possibly because Easter fell in March this year.

Expenditure by category, 2016-I
 % change
Fixed capital formation6.9
Household consumption0.9
Government consumption0.8

Growth for construction sector, substantial contraction in mining production

Mining production declined dramatically as a result of the decision to reduce the extraction of natural gas early 2015, but the sectors construction and business services again showed robust growth in Q1. Within the sector business services, temp and consultancy agencies performed well. Manufacturing output was also above the level of the same period last year. The production of transport vehicles and equipment in particular grew considerably.

Value added by sector, 2016-I
 % change
Business services4.3
Electricity and gas supply3
Manufacturing industry2.5
Trade, transportation, hotels and restaurants2.5
Water supply and waste treatment2.4
Information and communication2.1
Culture, recreation, other services1.7
Real estate activities1.6
Public services, education and care0.4
Financial institutions0.3
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.5
Mineral extraction -20.4

First estimate

The first estimate - 45 days after the end of each quarter - is solely based on information available at that moment. In the first estimate CBS presents a picture of the state of the Dutch economy. After the publication of the first estimate, new economic data for example about the sectors business services, construction and hotels and restaurants are continually pouring in and are used to revise and update previous estimates. The second estimate on economic growth will be published on Friday 24 June. 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.

Simultaneously with each new estimate, CBS also publishes new, seasonally adjusted figures for quarters published earlier. Other growth figures referring to previous quarters have not been changed on the basis of this recalculation.