Yesterday at 10 – Linda van Eekeres
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter is broadly the same as in the last quarter of last year. But compared to the first quarter of 2021, the economy has grown by 7 percent. This is stated by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) today (May 17). Agricultural value added was negative (-1.9%) and slightly lower than a quarter earlier.
Compared to the fourth quarter, public consumption fell by 4 per cent. Households spent 0.1% less. Exports of goods and services fell by 0.5% and imports fell by 1.3%. Investments increased by 0.8 per cent. Sectors that contributed positively to GDP included construction, business services and culture, sports and recreation. Government, education and health care had the most negative contribution.
In the fourth quarter, there was already a slowdown in growth compared to two quarters earlier. Gross domestic product grew by 0.9% in that quarter compared to the third quarter of 2021 after a solid recovery in the economy in previous quarters. In the third quarter, the Netherlands was already on par with the corona.
7% year-on-year growth
GDP in the first quarter of this year was 7% higher than in the first quarter last year. In particular, household consumption and the trade balance contributed. Government spending also contributed positively (+ 2.5%) due to health care spending, including booster vaccinations. Consumers spent 10.6% more in the first quarter. This is partly due to the fact that there was a hard lockdown in the first quarter of 2021.
“Also this year, the first quarter started with a lockdown, but more and more easing was implemented from mid-January,” says CBS. “Consumers therefore spent more on catering, culture and recreation, clothing and home decor.” Investments in the first quarter of this year were at roughly the same level as the year before. More was invested in software, R&D and industrial buildings, but less in aircraft and homes.
Exports of goods and services were 4.7% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier. In particular, several chemical products, machinery and food went abroad. Exports of Dutch industrial goods were at roughly the same level, while re-exports grew by almost 3% on an annual basis. Imports of goods and services were 2.9% higher. The trade balance contributed positively to economic growth.
Value added agriculture negative
Value added (the difference between production and consumption of energy, materials and services) in the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries was negative in both the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of this year and slightly worse than in the previous quarter. Value added was -1.4% in the fourth quarter last year and -1.9% in the first quarter of this year.
The added value of the ‘culture, sports, recreation and other services’ sector grew the most, by more than half. Mainly sports, relaxation, art and culture grew. Although this industry is growing for the fourth consecutive quarter, the loss caused by the corona measures in the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 has not yet been fully recovered.
Exports are shrinking, smaller agricultural products are being exported
The statistical office also published the export figures for March today. The volume of merchandise exports was 1.9% less than in March 2021. A month earlier, exports were still growing by 1.5%. In particular, fewer oil products, agricultural products and ships were exported. Exports of machinery, chemicals and metal products grew. The volume of imports of goods was 2.2% lower in March than in March 2021. In particular, fewer minerals and aircraft were imported.
Statistics Denmark also published consumption figures today. In March, consumers spent 11.2% more than in March 2021. More was spent primarily on services and durable goods. Growth is slightly lower than in February 2022. Retail sales volume was 3.7% higher in March than in March 2021. The volume of the non-food sector grew by more than 21% and the volume of the food sector fell by more than 6%.
Linda van Eekeres
Linda van Eekeres is the co-writing editor-in-chief. She focuses mainly on macroeconomic developments and the impact of policy on the agricultural sector.
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