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Daily Dutch News in English

Dutch economy shows growth

The Dutch economy beat analysts’ expectations to grow by 0.2 percent in the second quarter, buoyed by rising exports official data showed on Tuesday.

According to the first, preliminary estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands, the economic growth in the second quarter of 2012 was 0.2 percent relative to the first quarter, but economic growth was 0.5 percent down compared to the second quarter of 2011. The number of working days was the same in both quarters.

The 0.2 percent growth relative to the preceding quarter was the same as in the first quarter. The marginal growth in the first half of this year was preceded by contraction in the latter half of 2011. Despite this marginal growth, the Netherlands is still going through a period of recession.

Dutch exports improved by 3.6 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. Re-exports grew faster than exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands, but the profits of re-exported products are relatively low. Exports of natural gas and products derived from crude oil grew in the second quarter.

For the fifth quarter in a row, household consumption declined in the second quarter relative to one year previously (1.3 percent). In the second quarter, fewer durable items, like clothes, cars and furniture were sold, but Dutch consumers spent more on consumer electronics and heating due to the cold weather conditions.

Government consumption rose marginally by 0.5 percent, predominantly due to the sustained increase in health care costs. The amount spent on public administration declined.

Fixed capital formation declined 3.2 percent in the second quarter relative to twelve months previously. The slump in the construction sector largely accounts for the decline. Investments in residential and non-residential building and civil engineering and also in machinery and installations dropped in the second quarter. As the tax benefit was scheduled to expire, more money was invested in the purchase of commercial vehicles.

Most sectors remained at the same level as one year ago, but the construction sector slumped by 9.3 percent. The sector has contracted since 2009, except for a short period of recovery early 2011. Another exception concerns the sector mineral extraction. Due to the cold spring, the sector mineral extraction grew by 11.4 percent compared to one year ago.

In the second quarter of this year, 55 thousand jobs of employees were lost relative to a year ago, a decrease by 0.7 percent. With 15 thousand, most jobs were lost in public administration. In relation to one year ago, employment has fallen across nearly all sectors. Employment improved only in the sectors trade, transport, hotels and restaurants, health care and information and communication relative to a year ago. The total number of jobs dropped by 16 thousand compared to the preceding quarter.