The Netherlands' economy grew at a stable rate in the third quarter, underpinned mainly by consumption, preliminary estimates from the Central Bureau of Statistics showed on Thursday.Gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent from the second quarter, when the economy expanded at the same pace. In the first quarter too, GDP rose 0.4 percent.
Economists had expected the Dutch growth rate to ease slightly to 0.3 percent. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP increased 1.9 percent in the third quarter after a 1.8 percent rise in the previous three months.
Economists had forecast 1.8 percent growth.The year-on-year growth was due to investments in fixed assets and household consumption, while the contribution from the trade balance was negative, the CBS said.Fixed asset investment growth improved to 7.4 percent from 5.1 percent.
Household consumption increased 1.6 percent after a 1.8 percent rise. Government expenditure grew at a faster rate of 1.5 percent. Exports growth slowed to 2.2 percent from 2.8 percent, while the rate of increase in imports climbed to 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent.
On a working-day adjusted basis, GDP grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in the third quarter. The CBS is set to announce the second calculation of third quarter economic growth on December 24.
The statistical office also reported on Thursday that the business confidence index dropped to 6.6 in the fourth quarter from 10.6 in the third quarter. The latest reading was the lowest since the second quarter of 2015, when the score was 5.4.
The weakening of confidence was seen in most industries.The expectations of entrepreneurs for 2020 are positive, but less positive than a year ago, the report said. In other data from the CBS, export grew 1.8 percent year-on-year in September after a 2.3 percent growth in the previous month. Shipments of petroleum products and machines in particular grew, while the export of electrical equipment decreased again.
Conditions for export in November are less favorable than in September, mainly because producer confidence in Germany and the eurozone was more negative and the opinion of Dutch and European producers on export orders was also more negative, the agency said. Imports increased 4.9 percent year-on-year in September.