GDP growth rate 0.4 percent in Q1 2017

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According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), which is based on currently available data, the gross domestic product (GDP) posted a growth rate of 0.4 percent in Q1 2017 relative to Q4 2016. This is mainly due to an increase in investment volume. GDP has grown continually over the past 12 quarters.

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth compared to Q1 2016.

GDP 3.4 percent up from Q1 2016

According to the first estimate, GDP was 3.4 percent up from Q1 2016, the most substantial growth since 2008. Growth is widely supported and mainly based on higher exports, investments and consumption. However, Q1 2017 had two working days more than Q1 2016. If GDP is adjusted for this effect, the growth rate is 2.8 percent.

Expenditure by category, Q1 2017
Imports goods and services4.1
Fixed capital formation6.7
Exports goods and services4.7
Household consumption1.6
Government consumption1.6

Considerable increase exports of chemical products and machinery

Exports of goods and services grew more rapidly in Q1 2017 than in the preceding quarter. Exports of chemical products, machinery, (basic) metal products and transport equipment were up on one year previously. Exports of Dutch products and re-exports (i.e. exports of imported products) increased at approximately the same rate.

Imports of goods and services grew less quickly than exports. As a result, the balance of imports and exports made a solid contribution to economic growth.

Higher investments in residential property and passenger cars

Q1 2017 saw a significant increase in investments in residential property and transport equipment. Private sector investments in software, machinery and telecommunication equipment also rose relative to one year ago. This is consistent with the positive producer confidence, which is at the highest level in more than 9 years.

Consumer spending slightly higher

Year-on-year, consumer spending was marginally up in Q1 2017. Although growth is below the level of the preceding quarter, consumer spending has risen over the past 12 quarters compared to one year previously. In Q1 consumers spent more on clothing and electric appliances, but less on food, drinks and tobacco. Natural gas consumption also decreased. Dutch consumers also spent more on services, e.g. in hotels and restaurants. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumers spending.

Consumption is growing, unemployment is declining and the housing market is improving. Today, CBS also presents data on employment growth. At the end of the quarter, the consumer confidence indicator reached the highest level in almost a decade.

Construction and business services show strongest growth

The construction sector realised the strongest output growth, in particular the construction of new dwellings. The sector business services also showed substantial growth, with temp agencies performing much better than in Q1 2016. Labour market figures published by CBS today corroborate this development: the number of temp jobs increased further.

Manufacturing industry also boasted better results than a year ago. Growth over Q1 was the highest since Q1 2011. In Q1 2017, the production of machinery, transport equipment and chemical products was stepped up. Mining and quarrying was the only sector where output declined.

Value added by sector, Q1 2017
 % change
Business services5.2
Trade, transport, hotels and restaurants4.7
Manufacturing industry4.4
Information and communication4.1
Real estate activities3.3
Water supply and waste management1.7
Public services, education and care1.6
Culture, recreation, other services1.5
Financial institutions0.5
Agriculture, forestry and fishing0.2
Mining and quarrying-7

First estimate

The first estimate is conducted 45 days after the end of a quarter and is based on information available at that moment. CBS provides a first picture of the state of the Dutch economy. After the first estimate, new data are continually pouring in, which are used to make new calculations. The second estimate on economic growth will be released on Friday 23 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, with the two extremes ranging between - 0.3 and + 0.4 percentage points.

With each new estimate, CBS also recalculates the new seasonally adjusted figures of previously published quarters. The second estimate has not given rise to corrections in the growth figures of the preceding quarters.