Economic growth at its lowest level since 2014

Containers in the port of Rotterdam
Containers in the port of RotterdamPhoto: designf21/DepositPhotos

The Dutch economy grew by 1.7 percent in 2019 - the lowest growth since 2014, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Thursday. Economic growth last year was boosted by more consumer spending and investments by companies. The trade-balance had a negative effect on the growth, the stats office said.

In 2018 the economy grew 2.6 percent. The growth is declining, "but if you compare it with the countries around us, we did very well," Statistics Netherlands chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen said to NU.nl.

Investments grew by 5.3 percent in 2019, compared to 3.2 percent a year earlier. Last year Netherlands businesses invested more in passenger cars, buildings, homes, infrastructure, and machines. Investments in housing grew 1.5 percent, though that is considerably lower than the 7 percent growth in 2018. 

Consumers spent 1.4 percent more in 2019 than in 2018. the growth is lower than in the previous two years, when consumer spending increased 2 percent. Last year, consumers mainly spent more on home furnishing, electrical appliances, and clothing. They also spent more on services like hospitality, transport and communication. 

The exports of goods and services grew by 2.6 percent last year, less than the 3.7 percent growth of 2018. The imports of goods and services grew 3.2 percent. As imports grew more than exports, the trade balance negatively affected GDP growth in 2019.

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