Economy improves further

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Statistics Netherlands reports that the Dutch economy grew further in the third quarter of 2016. The first calculation, which is based on data now available, shows that economic growth was 0.7 percent relative to the second quarter. Growth is driven mainly by rising exports and household consumption.

The Dutch economy continues to improve steadily. Quarterly, growth has been seen for ten consecutive quarters. The first three quarters of 2016 even saw 0.7 percent growth three times in a row.

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

Economy grew by 2.4 percent relative to Q3 2015

As the first estimate indicates, the size of the Dutch economy increased by 2.4 percent in the third quarter on the same quarter in 2015. The increase is mainly due to rising investments, more consumption and higher exports.

Higher investments in residential property, aircraft and trucks

The third quarter again showed considerable growth in investments related to transport equipment and residential property. Companies invested more in aircraft, lorries and semi-trailers. Their expenditure on passenger cars declined, however. Furthermore, investments in computers rose; the growth in investments is in line with the positive producer confidence.

Consumers spending more in hotels, restaurants and on recreation

Consumers spending was up as well in the third quarter compared to one year previously, mainly on hospitality and recreational services, but on care services as well. Expenditure on services account for over half of total domestic household consumption. As for expenditure on goods, consumers mainly spent more on electric appliances, while car sales went up as well.

Aside from a slight dip in February and March of this year, the mood among consumers has been positive for almost two years on end. Consumer confidence reached its highest point since August 2007 last month, in October. Especially their willingness to buy has improved over the past few months.

Rise in exports mainly chemical products

The rise in exports of goods and services was slightly less significant in the third quarter of 2016 than in preceding quarters. Re-exports (i.e. exports of imported goods) grew about twice as fast as exports of domestically produced goods.

In the third quarter, Dutch companies exported considerably more chemical products than one year previously. The increase was seen mainly in pharmaceutical products, but also in food products, (basic) metal products and machinery.

Imports of goods and services continued to rise this quarter at a higher rate than exports. However, exports less imports still contributed slightly to economic growth.

Expenditure, 2016-III
 % change
Fixed capital formation6.9
Household consumption1.7
Government consumption0.7

Strongest growth in construction sector, business services

Construction sector and business services output showed the strongest growth in the third quarter. There was a strong upturn in the construction of homes in particular. Among business services, output in the temporary employment sector again showed a sharp increase. This is reflected in CBS’ latest figures on the number of jobs, published today: the number of jobs for temporary agency workers rose by 62 thousand relative to the third quarter of 2015.

Furthermore, a rise was seen in manufacturing output, with stronger growth in the chemical, food and transport equipment industries.

Value added by sector, 2016-III
 % change
Business services4.6
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving2.7
Water supply and waste management2.4
Real estate activities2.1
Mining and quarrying2
Culture, recreation, other services1.5
Public services, education and care1
Financial institutions0.2
Electricity and gas supply0.1
Information and communication-0.2
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.9

First estimate

The first estimate is conducted 45 days after the end of a quarter and is based on information available at that moment. It is CBS’ first indication of the performance of the Dutch economy. After the first estimate, as additional information on the economy becomes available continuously including on business services, construction and the hospitality sector, this is taken into account in subsequent calculations. CBS will publish the second estimate on economic growth on Friday, 23 December.

Adjustment of the second estimate in absolute terms relative to the first estimate has been 0.1 percentage point on average for the past five consecutive years, with the lowest -0.3 and the highest +0.4 percentage point.

With each new estimate, CBS also recalculates the seasonally adjusted series of previously published quarters. As a result, corrections have been made in quarter-on-quarter growth estimates over Q1 and Q2 2016, namely from 0.6 to 0.7 percent.