GDP growth rate 0.5 percent in Q4 2018

More recent figures are available on this topic. View the latest figures here.
According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) based on currently available data, gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.5 percent in Q4 2018 relative to the previous quarter. Growth in Q4 was due to an increased balance of exports and imports, consumption and investments. With the release of data on Q4, the annual growth rate over 2018 has become available as well. Last year, GDP rose by 2.5 percent.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
   index (2010=100)
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 2111.9
2018Quarter 3112.1
2018Quarter 4112.6

GDP was 2.0 percent up on the same quarter in 2017. Year-on-year growth was lower than in the three previous quarters. Just as in the previous quarters, growth was widely supported in Q4. Consumption, investments and exports all contributed equally.

Overall growth in both imports and exports in Q4 2018 was affected negatively by a large company relocating part of its business activities to another country. However, this doesn’t affect the balance of exports and imports. Furthermore, there were two optional bridging days in December 2018: 24 and 31 December. In accordance with European regulations, the results have not been adjusted for this.

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth in 2018.

GDP was 2.5 percent up in 2018

According to the first estimate, GDP was 2.5 percent up in 2018. The growth rate was somewhat lower than the 2.9 percent in 2017. Growth in 2018 was mainly due to more consumption and higher investments. The balance of exports and imports also contributed, but to a lesser degree than in 2017.

GDP (volume)

Consumers purchase more cars and electrical appliances

In 2018, consumers spent 2.5 percent more than in 2017. The growth rate was higher than in 2017 when consumers spent 1.9 percent more than one year previously. Consumers mainly spent more on passenger cars and electrical appliances (audio, video, computers, telephones etc.). 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.

Investments in passenger cars, buildings and machinery up

Investments in fixed assets were up by 4.8 percent in 2018. The growth rate was 6.1 percent one year previously. Just as in 2017, investments in residential property and commercial buildings increased. Entrepreneurs also invested more in passenger cars, machinery and installations.

Mainly more exports of machinery and transport equipment

Exports of goods and services grew by 2.7 percent in 2018 against 5.3 percent in 2017. In 2018, Dutch companies mainly exported more transport equipment, machinery and appliances. Re-exports (exports of previously imported products) grew at a slightly faster pace than the export of domestically made products.

Imports of goods and services also grew by 2.7 percent in 2018. As a result, the balance of imports and exports made a less substantial contribution to economic growth than in 2017.

Expenditure (volume)
 2018 (year-on-year % change)2017 (year-on-year % change)
Fixed capital formation4.86.1
Household consumption2.51.9
Government consumption1.11.1

Construction shows strongest growth

Output by construction companies showed the strongest growth in 2018. The sector business services also showed substantial growth compared to 2017. The sector temp agencies in particular had higher output again. Labour market figures published by CBS today corroborate this development: the number of temp agency workers continued to grow, but growth is slowing down.

The manufacturing industry also recorded output growth relative to one year previously. Last year saw a substantial increase in the production of transport equipment, machinery and appliances. These were also popular export products. However, the sector mineral extraction went through contraction again and agricultural production was down as well.

Value added by sector (volume)
 2018 (year-on-year % change)2017 (year-on-year % change)
Business services54.8
Information and communication3.63.7
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving33.9
Real estate activities2.82
Culture, recreation, other services2.82.1
Public services, education and care1.52
Electricity and gas supply0.4-0.5
Water supply and waste management0.3-0.1
Financial institutions-0.9-0.3
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-2.50.6
Mining and quarrying-15.2-14.1

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 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 second estimate of economic growth will be published on Tuesday 26 March. 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 + 0.4 percentage points.

With each new calculation, CBS also fixes the new seasonally adjusted figures of previously reported quarters. The growth figure over Q3 2018 was adjusted downward by 0.1 percentage point. The growth figures over the first two quarters of 2018 have not been adjusted.