Dutch economy grows 0.5% at end of 2014 as EU beats estimates

The Dutch economy is continuing signs of recovery, posting growth of 0.5 percent in the last quarter of 2014, according to official bureau Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This is now the third consecutive quarter where growth has been measured, the CBS reported on Friday.

In comparison with the fourth quarter of 2013, the economy is a full one percent greater. The report is based on early data available just 45 days after the end of the last quarter.

The news was released the same day that total Eurozone economic growth beat estimates, showing economic strengthening of 0.3 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Throughout the year the Dutch economy grew 0.8 percent in comparison with the previous year and is the first year of growth after two years of economic contraction. Exports grew by 3.9 percent and the imports were 3.8 percent higher than in 2013.

Fourth quarter growth in the Netherlands is the result of higher demand in exports, increased investments and more consumption by the consumers, though the government consumption shrank lightly, the CBS stated. In the last quarter, the Netherlands exported significantly more metal products, machinery and vehicles. Exports of food and chemical products were said to have contributed significantly to the exports of goods and only the export of oil and agricultural products was slightly lower than in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Consumers also spent more in comparison with previous quarters. This is in line with attracting employment and signs of a housing market recovery. Forty percent more houses were sold in the last quarter of 2014 than in the same period the year before, though that could be more closely connected to the end of a tax benefits meant to stimulate housing purchases. On the same note, more money was spent on furniture and electronic devices as well as more bikes were bought than the previous year.

During the fourth quarter, more residential investments were made and companies put more money into equipment, telecommunications and software, which is a sign of increased utilization and business confidence in the industry.

This is the first calculation of economic growth and CBS will receive more data continuously. The later information will be incorporated into new calculations and the second report of economic growth will be published on March 26th.