GDP growth rate slows down

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According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on currently available data, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.2 percent in Q3 2018 relative to the previous quarter. The growth rate was the lowest in over two years. Growth in Q3 was due to increased household consumption and international trade.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
   index (2010=100)
2010Quarter 199.2
2010Quarter 299.6
2010Quarter 3100
2010Quarter 4101.2
2011Quarter 1101.8
2011Quarter 2101.7
2011Quarter 3101.7
2011Quarter 4101
2012Quarter 1100.9
2012Quarter 2100.9
2012Quarter 3100.5
2012Quarter 499.8
2013Quarter 1100.1
2013Quarter 299.9
2013Quarter 3100.5
2013Quarter 4101.1
2014Quarter 1101
2014Quarter 2101.6
2014Quarter 3101.9
2014Quarter 4102.8
2015Quarter 1103.4
2015Quarter 2103.7
2015Quarter 3104.1
2015Quarter 4104.2
2016Quarter 1105.2
2016Quarter 2105.4
2016Quarter 3106.5
2016Quarter 4107.3
2017Quarter 1107.9
2017Quarter 2108.8
2017Quarter 3109.6
2017Quarter 4110.6
2018Quarter 1111.2
2018Quarter 2112
2018Quarter 3112.2

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth compared to Q3 2017.

Year-on-year GDP growth is 2.4 percent

According to the first estimate, GDP was 2.4 percent up on the same quarter in 2017. Growth was mainly due to higher consumption. Investments in fixed assets and international trade also contributed, but less than in the previous quarter.

Expenditure (volume)
 2018 Q3 (year-on-year % change)2018 Q2 (year-on-year % change)
Fixed capital formation2.45.9
Household consumption2.32.6
Government consumption1.31.1

Consumers purchasing more again

In Q3, consumers spent over 2 percent more than in Q3 one year previously. For 18 quarters in a row, consumer spending has shown a year-on-year increase.

Almost across the board, consumption was higher 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. Consumer confidence was again relatively high in Q3.

Investments up

Investments in fixed assets were over 2 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 lorries, semi-trailers etc. Producer confidence was again relatively high in Q3, but lower than in the first two quarters.

The growth of investments was lower than in the previous quarters of 2018, partly because investments in dwellings and infrastructure grew less rapidly. 

Mainly more exports of machinery and transport equipment

Exports of goods and services grew by over 2 percent in Q3 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 slightly slower rate than exports. As a result, the balance of imports and exports made another contribution to economic growth, but to a lesser extent than in Q2.

Construction and business services show strongest growth

Output by construction companies showed the strongest growth in Q3 2018. The sector business services also showed substantial growth compared to Q3 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. Q3 2018 saw a substantial increase in the production of transport equipment and machinery. The sector mineral extraction went through contraction again.

Value added by sector (volume)
 2018 Q3 (year-on-year % change)2018 Q2 (year-on-year % change)
Business services4.85.2
Information and communication3.93
Real estate activities3.12.4
Culture, recreation, other services33
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving2.64.3
Public services, education and care1.61.6
Water supply and waste management0.90.4
Electricity and gas supply-0.1-0.2
Financial institutions-1-0.6
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-3.2-1.4
Mining and quarrying-15.9-13.7

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 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 Monday 24 December. 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 Q1 and Q2 2018 were adjusted downward by 0.1 percentage point.