Dutch economy dips in first quarter
12 May 2005AMSTERDAM — Economic growth in the Netherlands fell in the first three months of 2005 for the first time in two years.
12 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — Economic growth in the Netherlands fell in the first three months of 2005 for the first time in two years.
The Central Bureau of Statistics — referred to internationally as Statistics Netherlands — said the first quarter of this year had one working day less than the same period in 2004, something which might have had an effect on economic growth.
The CBS also reported on Thursday that employment also fell again in the first quarter of this year, though the decrease was slightly smaller than in the four previous quarters. The report's findings are based on the first estimate of the CBS's quarterly national accounts.
The CBS said one important cause for the slight decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was that the increase in exports more than halved in the first quarter.
"Furthermore, households spent less and investments were down. Government
consumption showed a modest increase," the CBS said.
The volume of exports of goods and services was 3.7 percent higher in the first quarter of 2005 than twelve months previously. This is less than half the growth rate in the first quarter of 2004.
Almost all of the increase in exports in the first quarter was accounted for by re-exports of goods produced elsewhere. These are distributed via the Netherlands after undergoing slight processing. Exports of goods and services produced in the Netherlands did not increase.
Imports, the CBS said, grew by 4.3 percent. Here, too, the increase was almost entirely caused by re-exports.
The CBS said households spent 1.0 percent less in the first quarter of 2005 than in the same quarter in 2004. In 2004 household consumption recovered slightly after the
dip in 2003.
"Dutch consumers spent less on expensive durable goods such as cars, furniture and consumer electronics in particular. But – taking into account price changes - they also spent a little less on food, drink and tobacco," the CBS said.
In contrast, the volume of government consumption was 1.6 percent higher in the first
quarter of 2005 than in the same quarter last year. Real expenditure by the
government on care and welfare increased. One of the reasons for this is that under the new subsidies system, more spending on childcare is booked as government spending. Spending on education and public administration was almost stable.
In the first quarter of 2005 there were 78 thousand employee jobs, 1.1 percent
fewer than one year ago. The decrease in labour-years was relatively slightly
larger: 1.3 percent.
"This is the eighth quarter in succession that the number of jobs was lower than twelve months previously, although the decrease was smaller than in the four preceding quarters," the CBS said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news