Netherlands: Economy picks up in Q4; returns to full-year economic growth in 2014
February 13, 2015
In the fourth quarter, GDP increased 0.5% in seasonally-adjusted terms over the previous quarter, according to the first estimate released by Statistics Netherlands on 13 February. The reading exceeded the 0.3% increase the market had expected and marked an acceleration compared to the 0.2% expansion recorded in Q3. Q4’s acceleration mainly resulted from a better performance of the external sector, and private consumption and fixed investment also picked up.
In the full year 2014, the economy grew 0.8%, which marks an improvement compared to 2013’s 0.7% contraction and a return to growth following two years of shrinking GDP.
Private consumption grew a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter, which was up from the 0.2% increase observed in the previous quarter. Government consumption recorded a 0.5% quarterly contraction in Q4, which was down from the 0.1% decrease tallied in Q3. On the other hand, fixed investment rose from a 1.8% quarterly expansion in Q3 to a 2.7% increase, thus recording the fastest growth rhythm since Q4 2013.
On the external front, quarterly growth in exports of goods and services fell from 0.9% in Q3 to 0.5% in Q4, the weakest result in one year. Imports of goods and services also slowed down pace and grew a meager 0.1% in Q4, which was down from the 1.6% rise recorded in the previous quarter and marked the lowest increase since Q1 2013. As exports grew at a faster pace than imports, the external sector’s net contribution to overall economic growth rebounded from minus 0.4 percentage points in Q3 to plus 0.4 percentage points in Q4.
The economy grew 1.0% over the same quarter last year in the fourth quarter, matching the third quarter’s expansion.