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Netherlands: Economy#

Netherlands is the sixth-largest economy in the euro-zone and is noted for its stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, sizable trade surplus, and important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. The Dutch financial sector suffered as a result of the global financial crisis, due in part to the high exposure of some Dutch banks to US mortgage-backed securities. In 2008, the government nationalized two banks and injected billions of dollars of capital into other financial institutions, to prevent further deterioration of a crucial sector. After 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Dutch economy - highly dependent on an international financial sector and international trade - contracted by 3.5% in 2009. To recover, the government sought to boost the domestic economy by accelerating infrastructure programs, offering corporate tax breaks for employers to retain workers, and expanding export credit facilities. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, resulted in a government budget deficit of 5.3% of GDP in 2010 that contrasted sharply with a surplus of 0.7% in 2008. The government of Prime Minister Mark RUTTE began implementing austerity measures in early 2011, mainly reducting expenditures, which resulted in an improved budget deficit in 2011. However, in 2012 tax revenues dropped, GDP contracted, and the budget deficit deteriorated. In 2013, the government budget deficit decreased to 3.3% of GDP due to increased government revenue from higher taxes. However, spending on social benefits also increased, due to a rise in unemployment benefits and payments for pensions. The high unemployment rate and tax increases have contributed to continued decreases in household disposable income, causing the Dutch economy to contract.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$699.7 billion (2013 est.)
$705.3 billion (2012 est.)
$714.2 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate-0.8% (2013 est.)
-1.2% (2012 est.)
0.9% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$43,300 (2012 est.)
$43,200 (2011 est.)
$41,600 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 2.6%
industry: 25.4%
services: 72.1% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line9.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 24.5% (2012 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 2.3%
industry: 18.8%
services: 78.9% (2011 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Exports - partnersGermany 26.5%, Belgium 13.7%, France 8.8%, UK 8%, Italy 4.5% (2012)
Agriculture - productsgrains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock
Budgetrevenues: $315.5 billion
expenditures: $339.3 billion (2014 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partnersGermany 13.8%, China 12%, Belgium 8.4%, UK 6.7%, Russia 6.4%, US 6.1% (2012)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
Exports$576.9 billion (2013 est.)
$550 billion (2012 est.)
Debt - external$2.347 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$2.434 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Imports$511 billion (2013 est.)
$498.5 billion (2012 est.)
Industrial production growth rate0.5% (2013 est.)
Industriesagroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.5% (2013 est.)
2.5% (2012 est.)
Labor force7.939 million (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate8.3% (2013 est.)
6.4% (2012 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index30.9 (2007)
32.6 (1994)
Public debt74.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
71.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
Current account balance$65.87 billion (2013 est.)
$51.54 billion (2012 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$71.95 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$54.82 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$722.3 billion (2013 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$646.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$605.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.034 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$961.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$675 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$651 billion (31 December 2012)
$594.7 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.75% (31 December 2013)
1.5% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate2.3% (31 December 2013 est.)
2.65% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.736 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.7 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money$401.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$389.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
Stock of broad money$1.169 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.136 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues43.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 45.3%
government consumption: 27.7%
investment in fixed capital: 15.7%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 86%
imports of goods and services: -75.2%
(2013 est.)
Gross national saving26.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
27.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
28.3% of GDP (2011 est.)