Economy - Figures
The Dutch economy grew by 2.7 percent in 2018. This was slower than in 2017, when the growth rate was 2.9 percent. The economy was in its fifth consecutive year of growth. The main contributors were consumption and investments. The trade balance also made a positive contribution, although less substantial than in 2017.
Last year, consumer spending was up by 2.5 percent relative to 2017. Consumers mainly spent more on passenger cars and electrical appliances such as computers and telephones. They also spent more on services including accommodation, meals and refreshments, and transport and communication. Investments were up by 4.3 percent. Just as in 2017, considerably more was invested in residential and commercial property. Furthermore, companies invested substantially more in passenger cars, machinery and installations.
Exports of goods and services grew by 2.7 percent in 2018. Year-on-year, Dutch companies exported significantly more transport equipment, machinery and other equipment. Re-exports – for example exports of previously imported goods – grew slightly faster than exports of domestically produced goods. Imports of goods and services were up by 2.8 percent on 2017.
National economic growth was noticeable in virtually all of the COROP plus areas. Economic contraction was only recorded in Overig Groningen and Noord-Friesland. Contraction in Overig Groningen (due to a decline in natural gas extraction) was partially offset by a municipal reorganisation involving Oost-Groningen. Zuidwest-Friesland’s economy grew more (5.2 percent) than the economy of Almere, but this higher growth rate was partially due to municipal reorganisations; a part of the economy of Noord-Friesland shifted to Zuidwest-Friesland as a result. In Almere, lease companies in particular contributed to the economic growth.
The Dutch government achieved a budget surplus in 2018, as in the previous year. The balance of public revenue and expenditure came out at over 11 billion euros, equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP. The Netherlands has kept below the European deficit ceiling of 3 percent of GDP.
National debt amounted to more than 405 billion euros in 2018, for example over 23 thousand net per capita. The public debt ratio (debt as a percentage of GDP) stood at 52.4 percent. It was the second consecutive year in which the debt level fell below the European criterion of 60 percent of GDP. Due to the credit crunch and subsequent euro crisis, the debt ratio peaked in 2014 at 67.9 percent. In 2017, national debt fell below the European criterion for the first time after 2010.
Of all industries, construction saw the strongest production growth in 2018. Output in business services was also considerably higher than in the previous year. A year-on-year increase was realised in manufacturing as well. Production of transport equipment, machinery and equipment grew in particular. These products also performed well in exports. The mining and quarrying sector, on the other hand, contracted again and agriculture saw a year-on-year decline as well.