GDP growth rate 0.4 percent in Q3 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 0.4 percent in Q3 2017 relative to Q2 2017. Growth is widely supported; investment, consumption and investments were up. GDP rose less sharply than in Q2, but the 1.5 percent growth in that quarter was exceptionally high.

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth compared to Q3 2016.

GDP 3.0 percent up on Q3 2016

According to the first estimate, GDP was 3.0 percent up on Q3 2016. Growth on annual basis is also widely supported and mainly based on higher exports, investments and consumption. Adjusted for working days, the growth rate amounts to 3.3 percent.

Expenditure, 2017-III
 % change
Fixed capital formation6.2
Household consumption2.5
Government consumption1

Investments in residential property and transport up again

Q3 2017 mainly saw an increase in investments in residential property, airplanes and passenger cars. Entrepreneurs also invested more in machinery. These higher investments in Q3 are consistent with the positive mood among Dutch entrepreneurs.

Mainly more exports of machinery and equipment

Exports of goods and services grew more sharply in Q3 2017 than in the first two quarters of 2017. Dutch companies exported mainly more machinery and appliances. Exports of chemical products and cars were also higher.

Re-exports (i.e. exports of imported products) increased nearly twice as rapidly as the exports of Dutch products.

Imports of goods and services grew at a slower rate than exports. The balance of imports and exports contributed approximately the same to GDP growth as investments and household consumption.

Consumers spend mainly more on home furnishing, appliances and clothing

Dutch consumer spending was up again in Q3 2017 year-on-year. The growth rate was slightly higher compared to the preceding quarters. In Q3 2017, consumers mainly spent more on electrical appliances, clothing and home furnishing articles.

Dutch consumers also spent more on services, e.g. in hotels and restaurants and on recreational services. Spending on services accounts for more than half of total domestic consumer spending.

Increased consumption is consistent with employment growth, which is also reported by CBS today. In the third quarter, the consumer confidence indicator reached the highest level in more than a decade.

Business services show strongest growth

The business services sector realised strongest output growth in Q3 2017, mainly because of a better performance by temp agencies. Labour market figures published by CBS today corroborate this development: the number of temp jobs increased again considerably.

The manufacturing industry also saw output grow again relative to one year previously. The production of electrical products, appliances and transport equipment increased in particular. In addition, the construction sector recorded growth, in particular in the construction of new dwellings. The mining and quarrying sector saw output decline again on a year-on-year basis.

Value added by sector, 2017-III
 % change
Business services6.2
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving5.1
Real estate activities3.5
Culture, recreation, other services1.9
Information and communication1.4
Public services, education and care1.1
Water supply and waste management0.1
Electricity and gas supply-0.5
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.8
Financial institutions-0.9
Mining and quarrying-12.3

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 December. 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. This recalculation has not resulted in an adjustment of the previous three quarters. The growth figure for Q3 2016 has been adjusted upwards, from 0.8 to 0.9 percent.