According to Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp, the Dutch economy appears to have completed its recovery and a period of solid growth is on the horizon. The minister’s comments came in response to the quarterly figures published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) today. The figures suggest that the Dutch economy has grown for the fifth quarter in a row, thanks to strong exports, investments and consumer spending. According to Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch economy in the second quarter of 2015 was almost the size it was before the crisis.
From recovery to growth
‘These figures suggest that the long period of economic recovery is behind us,’ said the minister. ‘Companies are investing more, consumers are spending more and exports are continuing to increase, despite setbacks in international trade as a whole. High unemployment still gives cause for concern, however. That’s why the government wishes to maintain the momentum by creating more scope for entrepreneurs and innovative products and services, cutting taxes, tackling unnecessary regulations and improving lending. In the period ahead, I envisage that more of us will begin to reap the benefits of economic recovery: more people in work, more money to spend and more opportunities for businesses to grow.’
Solid underlying growth
The most recent figures from Statistics Netherlands suggest that, while the Dutch economy did grow in the second quarter of 2015, a significant reduction in gas extraction depressed growth by half a percentage point. This meant that the Dutch economy only grew by 0.1% in the last quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2015. Statistics Netherlands notes, however, that the reduction in gas extraction has done nothing to change the overall positive outlook. In the second quarter of 2015, the Dutch economy still grew by 1.6 percentage points more than in the same quarter in 2014. This is in line with the most recent estimates by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), which earlier this week announced a growth forecast for 2016 of 2.4%.
‘The effects of the decrease in gas exports and the increase in gas imports are noticeable in the second quarter of 2015,’ said Mr Kamp. ‘However, the economy can withstand this, since underlying growth remains as strong as ever and our economy is flexible enough to cope with a few setbacks.’ The minister also pointed out that Dutch exports have continued to increase recently, despite setbacks in international trade as a whole. ‘This shows that Dutch businesses are competitive and are offering products and services that are in increasing demand across the globe. It gives us confidence that the Dutch economy is set to grow rapidly.’