Dutch economy grows faster than expected in second quarter

by: Nico Klene

The Dutch economy grew just as fast in the second quarter as in the first. The growth figure was slightly better than forecast and twice as high as the eurozone figure.

Gross domestic product (GDP) advanced in the second quarter – according to provisional figures – by 0.6% compared to the previous quarter (qoq). Moreover, the first-quarter growth figure was revised up to 0.6% (was: 0.5%).

Domestic spending up – exports stable

Most domestic expenditures increased compared to the previous quarter. Investment was particularly buoyant (+2.5% qoq), mainly driven by the further acceleration in residential investment. This reflects the sustained recovery in the housing market. Private consumer spending also edged slightly higher, but clearly not to the same extent as in the first quarter. Public sector spending also contributed to GDP growth.

Exports remained stable (according to the provisional figures), which was disappointing. Goods exports did rise, but services exports showed a clear decline. Imports displayed the same pattern. On balance, however, total goods and services imports decreased fractionally in the second quarter.

Outlook: economic growth for this year around 1½%

We expect economic growth to continue, partly thanks to the substantial improvement in purchasing power this year. Growth in global trade remains sluggish, however. The international picture looks set to remain fairly weak in the coming quarters. This is not favourable for Dutch export growth. For full-year 2016 we foresee average growth of about 1½%.

The uncertainties surrounding the global economy and the possible consequences of the Brexit decision in the UK pose risks for the Dutch economy.