GDP growth 0.7 percent in Q2 2018

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robin Utrecht
According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on currently available data, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.7 percent in Q2 2018 relative to the previous quarter. The growth rate was slightly higher than in Q1 2018. Growth in Q2 was mainly due to increased exports and investments.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted (2010=100)
2010 I99.2
2010 II99.6
2010 III100
2010 IV101.2
2011 I101.8
2011 II101.7
2011 III101.7
2011 IV101
2012 I100.9
2012 II100.9
2012 III100.5
2012 IV99.8
2013 I100.1
2013 II99.9
2013 III100.5
2013 IV101.1
2014 I101
2014 II101.6
2014 III101.9
2014 IV102.8
2015 I103.4
2015 II103.7
2015 III104.1
2015 IV104.2
2016 I105.2
2016 II105.4
2016 III106.4
2016 IV107.3
2017 I107.9
2017 II108.9
2017 III109.5
2017 IV110.5
2018 I111.2
2018 II111.9

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth compared to Q2 2017.

Year-on-year GDP growth is 2.9 percent

According to the first estimate, GDP was 2.9 percent up on the same quarter in 2017. Growth was due to higher domestic expenditure (household consumption and investments in fixed assets) as well as higher foreign expenditure (exports).

Q2 2018 had one working day more than Q2 2017. If GDP is adjusted for this effect, the GDP growth rate is 2.7 percent.

Expenditure (volume), 2018 Q2 (year-on-year % change)
Fixed capital formation5.3
Household consumption2.2
Government consumption1.2

Construction investments up

Investments in fixed assets were over 5 percent higher than one year previously. Investments in residential property, commercial buildings, infrastructure and machinery increased in particular. Entrepreneurs also continued to invest more in passenger cars. Producer confidence was again relatively high in Q2.

Mainly more exports of machinery and transport equipment

Exports of goods and services grew by nearly 3 percent in Q2 2018. Dutch companies mainly exported more machinery and transport equipment. The exports of domestically made products grew at a slightly faster pace than re-exports (exports of previously imported products).

Imports of goods and services grew at a slower rate than exports, namely by slightly over 2 percent. As a result, the balance of imports and exports made another solid contribution to economic growth. In Q1 2018, net exports made a negative contribution to the growth of GDP for the first time in over two years.

Consumers purchasing more again

In Q2, consumers spent well over 2 percent more than in Q2 one year previously. For 17 quarters in a row, consumer spending has shown a year-on-year increase.

Almost across the board, consumption was higher than than twelve months previously. Consumers mainly spent more on passenger cars and electrical appliances. They also spent more on services, especially in hotels and restaurants, transport and communication services. Service expenditure accounts for over half of total domestic consumption expenditure.

The growth in consumer spending is consistent with the continuing pick-up in employment - also reported by CBS today - as well as the drop in unemployment and further recovery of the housing market. Consumer confidence has been high since the end of 2016.

Construction and business services show strongest growth

Output by construction companies showed the strongest growth in Q2 2018. The sector business services also showed substantial growth compared to Q2 2017. As in the previous quarters, the sector temp agencies in particular had higher output. Labour market figures published by CBS today corroborate this development: the number of temp jobs continued to grow.

The manufacturing industry also recorded output growth relative to one year previously. Q2 2018 saw a substantial increase in the production of transport equipment, machinery and electrotechnical products. The sector mineral extraction went through contraction again.

Value added by sector (volume), 2018 Q2 (year-on-year % change)
Business services5
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving3.7
Information and communication2.8
Culture, recreation, other services2.7
Real estate activities2.2
Public services, education and care1.6
Water supply and waste management1
Electricity and gas supply-0.4
Financial institutions-1
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-1
Mining and quarrying-14.6

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 conducts this estimate to provide a first impression of the state of the Dutch economy. After the first estimate, new data become available constantly which are subsequently used for new calculations. The estimate of economic growth will be published on Friday 21 September. In absolute terms, the adjustment of the second estimate relative to the first estimate has averaged 0.1 percentage points over the past half decade, with the two extremes ranging between - 0.3 and + 0.3 percentage points.

With each new calculation, CBS also fixes the new seasonally adjusted figures of previously reported quarters. The growth figures over the four preceding quarters have remained unchanged.

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