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Netherlands: Economic growth 3.1 percent in Q2 2021

Christian Fernsby |
According to the first estimate conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.1 percent in Q2 2021 relative to the previous quarter.

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This economic growth was mainly due to increased household consumption and a higher trade balance. Public consumption also increased, but investments decreased.

Households spent 5.7 percent more in Q2 than in Q1 2021. Public consumption grew as well, by 2.6 percent. Exports and imports of goods and services increased by 4.0 and 2.6 percent, respectively. Investments were down by 1.8 percent.

In particular, the sector trade, transportation and accommodation and food services, the sector government, education and care and the manufacturing sector made positive contributions to the quarter-on-quarter economic growth.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the growth figures are surrounded by greater uncertainty than usual during a first estimate.

According to the first estimate, GDP was up by 9.7 percent relative to Q2 2020. This is the largest year-on-year growth ever. Household consumption and the trade balance were higher in particular. Investments and public consumption also made a positive contribution to growth.

The exceptionally high growth in the second quarter of 2021 is also mainly the result of a severe lockdown in the second quarter of last year, when GDP contracted sharply. The economy bounced back in the following period, but the contraction of that time has not yet been fully compensated. Compared to two years ago, the size of the economy in the second quarter of 2021 was still 0.4 percent smaller. Only public consumption and exports were higher in Q2 2021 than in Q2 2019.

In Q2 2021, consumers spent 9.3 percent more than in Q2 2020. This is mainly due to the (gradual) opening of shops and accommodation and food services. Consumers spent mainly more on accommodation and food services, medical services, clothing and passenger cars. However, household consumption has not yet returned to pre-coronavirus levels. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, household consumption was almost 5 percent lower.

Public consumption grew by 7.4 percent. Compared to Q2 2020, there was substantially less cancellation of care in the second quarter of 2021. Furthermore, public spending in the areas of health, education and social security grew strongly due to additional spending on testing and vaccinations.

In Q2 2021, the volume of investments in fixed assets was 9.5 percent up on the same quarter last year. Investments were mainly up in dwellings, buildings, passenger cars, lorries, machinery and installations. Investments are also not yet back at pre-coronavirus levels and were around 1 percent lower compared to the second quarter of 2019.

Exports of goods and services in Q2 2021 were 14 percent up year-on-year. Exports of goods grew strongly. In particular, more machinery, chemical products and transport equipment were exported. Exports of Dutch manufactured goods were 16 percent higher, while re-exports (the export of previously imported products) grew by 21.1 percent. Exports of services were slightly higher than in the second quarter of 2020.

Imports of goods and services were 10.7 percent higher. Exports grew faster than imports, so the trade balance made a positive contribution to economic growth.

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