GDP growth rate 0.5 percent in Q1 2019

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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) grew by 0.5 percent in Q1 2019 relative to Q4 2018. This is the same growth rate as in the previous quarter. Growth in Q1 2019 was mainly due to increased investments in fixed assets. The trade balance made a negative contribution to the growth of GDP.

GDP (volume), seasonally adjusted
   index (2010=100)
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 1101.0
2014Quarter 2101.6
2014Quarter 3101.9
2014Quarter 4102.8
2015Quarter 1103.4
2015Quarter 2103.7
2015Quarter 3104.1
2015Quarter 4104.2
2016Quarter 1105.1
2016Quarter 2105.4
2016Quarter 3106.5
2016Quarter 4107.3
2017Quarter 1107.8
2017Quarter 2108.8
2017Quarter 3109.6
2017Quarter 4110.6
2018Quarter 1111.3
2018Quarter 2112.1
2018Quarter 3112.2
2018Quarter 4112.8
2019Quarter 1113.3

The rest of the news release deals with economic growth compared to Q1 2018.

GDP 1.7 percent up on Q1 2018

According to the first estimate, GDP was 1.7 percent up on Q1 2018. Growth was mainly due to higher investments in fixed assets and household consumption. The trade balance made a negative contribution to the growth of GDP.

Q1 2019 had one working day less than Q1 2018. If GDP is adjusted for this effect, the GDP growth rate is 1.9 percent.

Expenditure (volume)
 2019-I (year-on-year % change)2018-IV (year-on-year % change)
Fixed capital formation4.54.4
Government consumption1.20.8
Household consumption0.72.2

Higher investments in construction and machinery

Investments in fixed assets were 4.5 percent higher than one year previously. This is virtually the same growth as in Q4 2018. The first quarter of 2019 mainly saw an increase in investments in dwellings, buildings , infrastructure and machinery.

Consumer spending up

For 20 quarters in a row, consumer spending has risen relative to one year previously. In Q1 2019, consumer spending was up by 0.7 percent relative to Q1 2018. The growth rate was lower than in the previous quarter, when consumers spent over 2 percent more year-on-year.

In Q1 2019, consumers spent more on e.g. home furnishing articles , electrical appliances and services. However, they spent less on passenger cars. Natural gas consumption also decreased. The first quarter of 2019 had warmer weather conditions compared to Q1 2018.

Mainly more exports of machinery

Exports of goods and services grew by 1.1 percent in Q1 2019, the lowest growth rate in three years’ time. Dutch companies exported mainly more machinery and appliances. Re-exports (i.e. exports of imported products) grew while exports of domestic products declined.

Imports of goods and services grew faster than exports, by 1.6 percent. As a result, the trade balance (net exports) made a negative contribution to economic growth, just as in Q1 2018.

Overall growth in both imports and exports is affected negatively by a large company relocating part of its business activities to another country. However, this does not affect the trade balance.

Construction and business services show strongest growth

The construction sector realised the strongest output growth, by 8.7 percent. The sector business services grew by 3.6 percent compared to Q1 2018. The growth rate is lower than in the previous quarters. Labour market figures published by CBS today corroborate this development: the number of jobs in the business services sector, including the temporary employment sector, continued to grow but at a slower rate.

The manufacturing industry also recorded output growth relative to one year previously, but it was also less substantial than in previous quarters. The mining and quarrying sector again saw the largest decline. However, the contraction was much smaller than previously.

Value added by sector (volume)
 2019-I (year-on-year % change)2018-IV (year-on-year % change)
Business services3.64.7
Real estate activities2.52.2
Trade, transportation, accommodation and food serving2.03.0
Information and communication1.93.2
Public services, education and care1.61.6
Culture, recreation, other services1.52.6
Electricity and gas supply1.1-0.1
Water supply and waste management-1.50.4
Financial institutions-2.2-1.3
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-2.6-4.5
Mining and quarrying-4.2-15.4

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 Monday 24 June. In absolute terms, the adjustment of the second estimate relative to the first estimate has averaged nearly 0.1 percentage points over the past half decade, with the two extremes ranging between - 0.1 and + 0.3 percentage points.

With each new estimate, CBS also recalculates the new seasonally adjusted figures of previously published quarters. The growth figure for Q3 2018 has been adjusted from 0.2 to 0.1 percent. This recalculation has not resulted in an adjustment of the other three quarters of 2018.