The economy posted its sixth consecutive quarter of growth, but the pace of acceleration has slowed sharply in the last two periods to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2014 when Dutch economy contracted by 0.7 percent. Government spending grew 0.4 percent after showing no growth in the previous quarter. By contrast, investment growth eased to only 0.3 percent (+3 percent in Q2) and household consumption was flat (+0.3 percent in Q2). Net external demand continued to drag the expansion down, as exports of goods and services grew 0.7 percent while imports rose at a faster 1.1 percent.
Year-on-year, the economy advanced by 1.9 percent, up from 1.8 percent in the previous quarter but staying below market expectations of 2.1 percent growth. The annual increase was led by higher consumption from consumers and government, while investment expanded at a slower pace. Private consumption increased by 1.8 percent (+1.6 percent in Q2), as consumers spent more on clothing, electrical appliances, cars and miscellaneous services. Also, government spending expanded by 0.2 percent (-0.2 percent in Q2). Business investment advanced 10.9 percent (+14.5 percent in Q2), as companies invested more in houses and transport, mainly passenger cars, trucks and trailers. Also, companies have also spent more on plant and machinery, telecommunications and software. However, net external demand continued to contribute negatively. Exports rose by 4.3 percent (+4.5 percent in Q2), boosted by sales of oil products and transport equipment, while natural gas shipments shrank. Meanwhile, imports grew faster by 5.6 percent (+5.8 percent in Q2).
On the production side, mineral extraction declined sharply, while construction and business services grew strong.