Exceptionally high GDP growth in Q2 2017

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According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), which is based on currently available data, gross domestic product (GDP) posted a growth rate of 1.5 percent in Q2 2017 relative to Q1 2017. This is mainly due to an increase in exports and household consumption. Investments were up again as well. GDP has grown continually over the past 13 quarters.

The GDP growth recorded in Q2 is exceptionally high and has only occurred twice before this century. The 21st century consisted of 66 quarters up to and including the second quarter of this year. There were 47 quarters of growth. Future quarterly growth figures will show to what extent the peak in growth in Q2 was an exception.

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth compared to Q2 2016.

GDP 3.3 percent up from Q2 2016

According to the first estimate, GDP was 3.3 percent up from Q2 2016. Growth is widely supported and mainly based on higher exports, consumption and investments. Adjusted for working days, the growth rate amounts to 3.8 percent.

Expenditure, 2017-II
 % change
Fixed capital formation4.1
Household consumption2.5
Government consumption1

Considerable increase in exports of chemical products and machinery

Exports of goods and services grew slightly less rapidly in Q2 2017 than in the preceding quarter. Dutch companies exported mainly more chemical products, machinery and appliances. 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.

Consumers spend more on food and durable goods

Dutch consumer spending was up again in Q2 2017 year-on-year. The growth rate is slightly higher compared to the preceding quarters. For 13 quarters in a row, consumer spending has been up compared to one year previously. In Q2 2017, consumers mainly spent more on clothing, electric appliances and home furnishing articles, as well as on food, beverages and tobacco products.

Dutch consumers also spent more on services, e.g. in hotels and restaurants. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending. Furthermore, foreign consumer spending also grew compared to one year previously. Easter fell in Q2 this year; in Q1 last year.

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

Higher investments in residential property and passenger cars

Q2 2017 also saw a significant increase in investments in residential property and passenger cars. This is consistent with the positive producer confidence.

Business services show strongest growth

The business services sector realised strongest output growth in Q2 2017, mainly because temp agencies and travel agencies are performing better. Labour market figures published by CBS today corroborate this development: the number of temp jobs increased considerably again. In addition, the construction sector showed substantial output growth, in particular the construction of new dwellings.

Manufacturing industry also saw output grow again relative to one year previously. Q2 2017 saw a substantial increase in the production of machinery, electrical and electrotechnical appliances, and transport equipment. The mining sector saw output decline again on a year-on-year basis.

Value added by sector, 2017-II
 % change
Business services5.9
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving5.6
Real estate activities3.6
Information and communication2.9
Water supply and waste management1.3
Culture, recreation, other services1.2
Public services, education and care0.9
Electricity and gas supply0.6
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.2
Financial institutions-0.9
Mining and quarrying-17.1

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 22 September. 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 + 0.5 percentage points.

With each new estimate, CBS also recalculates the new seasonally adjusted figures of previously published quarters. On the basis of this revision, the growth figures for Q1 2017 and Q3 and Q4 2016, among others, have been adjusted upwards. Q2 2016 has been adjusted downwards.