Figures - Macroeconomic Trends
Measured by gross domestic product (GDP), the Dutch economy grew by 2.2 percent in 2016, a slightly higher rate than in 2015. This is the highest growth rate since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. Major contributors to this growth were domestic spending, investments and consumption. Unlike in 2015, the balance of trade (the difference between exports and imports) was also positive in 2016.
Some regions perform better than others. Amsterdam and the Zaanstreek and Haarlemmermeer areas achieved strong growth at 2.9 percent or more in 2016. While Amsterdam benefited from an increase in renting and other real estate activities, growth in the Zaanstreek was due to the food industry. The Haarlemmermeer area flourished thanks to the presence of Schiphol airport. The city of Utrecht saw slower growth (2.3 percent) owing to contraction in the financial sector. The growth rate of Rotterdam’s local economy (2.3 percent) was affected by a decline in the transport and storage sector.
In 2016, the Dutch economy grew at a higher pace than the average across the European Union (1.8 percent). The Netherlands’ national GDP growth (2.2 percent) exceeded growth in Germany (1.9 percent) and the United Kingdom (1.8 percent). GDP growth was also lower in Belgium (1.2 percent) and in France (1.1 percent).
In 2016 revenues from taxes and national insurance contributions increased by over 17 billion euros. VAT revenues rose by nearly 4 billion euros, and the private sector paid nearly 5 billion euros more in corporate tax. The wage and income tax including social insurance contributions was nearly 7 billion euros higher. Public expenditure saw a slight decline, partly due to the 3 billion euro reduction in contributions to the European Union which took effect over the last few years.
The interest burden dropped by around 1 billion euros due to historically low interest rates and decreasing debt. In 2016, the government had a general surplus revenue for the first time since 2008, to the amount of 2.9 billion euros or 0.4 percent of GDP.
Consumer confidence improved further in 2016. It declined over the first few months of the year but then recovered rapidly, reaching the highest level in over nine years by the end of 2016. Consumers considered it a favourable time to make large purchases and were positive about their own financial situation over the next 12 months, leading to increased consumer spending in 2016. Q4 growth in consumer spending was the highest in nine years.
Producer confidence already improved in the first half of 2016, reaching its highest level in over five years in June. This was followed by a drop but then a rebounce, ending at levels similar to the spring of 2016 by December. The positive mood among producers is in line with output levels in the manufacturing industry.
In 2016, natural gas extraction generated 2.4 billion euros in government revenues. This is nearly 13 billion euros lower than in 2013 and the lowest level since 1975. Natural gas revenues contributed 0.8 percent to total government revenue, the lowest share since 1969.
The fall in natural gas revenues over the past few years has partly been the result of cuts in the natural gas production. The adverse affects of gas extraction in Groningen province have led the government to downward adjustment of the gas production ceiling.
The annual volume of extraction from gas fields in the Dutch part of the North Sea has also decreased steadily. The decline in government revenues from natural gas extraction is furthermore the result of lower prices.