Economic growth virtually absent

In the second quarter of 2002, the volume of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 0.1 percent up on the corresponding quarter of the previous year, according to preliminary estimates of the Quarterly accounts by Statistics Netherlands.

In the first quarter of 2002, there was hardly any economic growth either. In the first six months of 2002, Dutch economy grew by 0.2 percent.

In the second quarter, investments and exports declined compared with the previous year. Stocks were depleted, which affected the GDP negatively. On the other hand, a stable growth in consumption boosted the economy.

Quarter-on-quarter growth meagre
The quarter-on-quarter growth rate, corrected for seasonal and calendar effects, was 0.1 percent in the second quarter. This is the fourth quarter in a row to show no noticeable growth compared to the previous quarter.

Decrease in exports slackens
For the third quarter running, the volume of exports of goods and services dropped. However, the pace of decline slowed down. The changes in the imports of goods and services developed similarly. The volume of exports was 2.2 percent down on last year, the volume of imports 3.5 percent.

After three quarters of minor decrease, exports of goods manufactured in the Netherlands slightly increased in the second quarter. The negative growth of exports was caused by reduced re-exports, i.e. products imported into the Netherlands and subsequently exported without having undergone further processing.

Stable growth household consumption
The volume growth of household and government consumption in the second quarter of 2002 was 1.7 percent. Though stable and moderate, this growth was the main contributor to the marginal rise of the GDP. The volume of individual consumption and household consumption, including goods and services paid by the government for the benefit of households, was 1.8 percent up, virtually equal to the first quarter. The growth rate of expenditure on food, beverages and tobacco and other goods (like energy and non-durables) picked up, whereas expenditure on durable consumer goods slowed down.

Investments fall off
The volume of investments in fixed assets was down on the second quarter of last year by 3.3 percent, the most substantial drop in a series of six consecutive quarters in which investments were down on last year. If large, incidental investment projects in the second quarter are not taken into account, the reduction was even more significant at 5.1 percent.

The volume of most investment goods showed a downward trend; investments in dwellings, transport equipment, and computers fell off substantially, whereas investments in machinery and installations increased, due to completion of a large project. Investments in non-residential buildings also grew.

Decrease in manufacturing production
The total production volume in the second quarter remained virtually the same. The underlying economic activities varied widely. The production volume of goods was 1.3 percent down on last year. Manufacturing production decreased, but less substantially than in the first quarter. The manufacturing of chemical, rubber and plastic products picked up and production volume grew significantly compared to the previous year.

Growth in commercial services was practically absent. For the third quarter in a row, production in trade, hotels, etc. and transport fell. From the first quarter of 2001, production growth in non-commercial services such as care and government, was considerably higher than the growth of the GDP, although the growth rate slowed down from more than 3 percent on average in the five preceding quarters to 2.5 percent in the second quarter.

(source: Statistics Netherlands)

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