Dutch economy grew for fourth straight quarter; exports up slightly

The Dutch economy grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, as the figures for the first quarter published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show. The growth amounted to 0.4 percent as compared to the last quarter of 2014. Compared to one year before, the size of the Dutch economy increased by 2.4 percent.

Growth is becoming broader-based with investment, consumption and the balance of trade all contribute to the increase in the economy size. Government consumption also increased slightly over the last year.

There was a significant growth in the size of Dutch exports. The Netherlands exported more oil products, natural gas, transport equipment and machinery compared to a year before. Imports of goods and services throughout the year grew slightly less rapidly than their exports.

Consumers also spent more than the beginning quarter of 2014. This is in line with the slight improvement in employment and the recovery in the housing market. Disposable income of households also grew during the last year. These developments affected consumer confidence which is, on average, positive for the first time since the summer of 2007. Consumers spent particularly more on furniture, electrical appliances, gas and in the hospitality industry.

The first quarter of this year saw a substantial growth of investment in housing compared to a year ago. Same applies to investment in transport and cargo. Companies and institutions have increased investment in machinery, telecommunications and software. Producers across industries are now generally more positive about future production.

Mining and construction industries realized the largest increase in production, around 8%, since the first quarter of the last year. An important reason for growth in mining is a colder start of 2015 which enhanced the demand for natural gas. Construction output increased mainly through a greater volume of investment in the housing market.