Economic Trends/Outlook in the Netherlands

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Economic Overview

The Netherlands entered into recession after the second trimester of 2008, the country was strongly affected by the international crisis due to its dependence on foreign trade.  Its GDP experienced a historic contraction of -4% in 2009.  The revival of global trade has allowed the country to recover with a slow growth drawn by the exports in 2010, estimated at 1.8%. 

The crisis plunged public finance into the red, beyond the limits of the European Stability and Growth Pact. The public deficit is estimated at 5.8% of the GDP in 2010, and the public debt is close to 65% of the GDP.  The priority of the government is to consolidate the budget and its objective is to bring the deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2013.  The government has established reforms intended to strengthen the financial sector and the management of the population's ageing is also essential.

The Netherlands presents high incomes per capita with an equal distribution of revenues.  The unemployment rate is rising but it still remains at less than 5% of the active population.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 796.65 783.29e 832.16e 852.48e 871.58e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -3.9 1.7e 1.5e 1.5e 1.6e
GDP per Capita (USD) 48,188 47,172e 49,950e 51,024e 52,030e
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -4.4 -4.1e -3.2e -2.2e -1.8e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 60.8 63.7e 65.6e 66.5e 66.7e
Inflation Rate (%) 1.0 0.9e 2.3e 2.2e 2.0e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 3.4 4.5e 4.4e 4.4e 4.3e
Current Account (billions USD) 41.65e 39.87e 42.60e 44.97e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) 5.2e 5.0e 5.3e 5.5e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector represents 3% of the country's GNP. The profits from production are high and the use of the agricultural surface area is very intensive. Nearly 60% of the production is exported, either directly or through the food industry, what makes of the Netherlands the third exporter of agricultural products in the world. Cereals, potatoes and horticultural products are the main crops.
Industrial activity, practically, generates nearly a quarter of the GNP through food-processing, the petro-chemical industry, metallurgy and also the transport equipment industry. The Netherlands is also amongst the major producers and distributors of oil and natural gas.
Services account for more than 70% of the national income and they are mainly centered on transportation, distribution, logistics, banking and insurances.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 2.7 18.2 73.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.7 24.0 74.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.7 -6.8 -2.7

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in the Netherlands, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Mostly free
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


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