Dutch economy grew 2.5% last year

Plastic shopping bags (Photo: EdouardHue/Wikimedia Commons)Plastic shopping bags (Photo: EdouardHue/Wikimedia Commons)

The Dutch economy grew by 2.5 percent last year, compared to 2.9 percent growth in 2017, Statistics Netherlands reported based on initial figures. The economic growth was boosted by higher consumer spending and business investment. The trade balance - the difference between imports and exports - contributed less to the growth than the year before.

Consumer spending increased by 2.5 percent last year. Consumers especially spent more on cars and electrical appliances. Spending also increased on servicers like restaurants and public transport and communication. Services account for more than half of consumer spending. In 2017 consumer spending increased 1.9 percent compared to the year before.

According to Statistics Netherlands, the increased consumption is in line with the growth in employment. The tension on the Dutch labor market reached a new high at the end of last year, with 80 vacancies per 100 unemployed. 

Investments in homes, buildings and machines, for example, grew 4.8 percent in 2018. In 2017 investments grew 6.1 percent.

The export of goods and services grew less rapidly in 2017, only increasing 2.7 percent last year. Imports of goods and services also increased by 2.7 percent in 2018. The trade balance therefore contributed less to economic growth than in 2017. 

In the last quarter of 2018 the economy picked up somewhat with a growth of 0.5 percent compared to the previous quarter. In the third quarter the growth stood at 0.2 percent.