THE HAGUE, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch economy is forecast to grow at 2.1 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2018, a Dutch government agency said on Friday.
The economic prospects are also favorable for the following years, with an average annual growth of 1.7 percent for the 2018-2021 period, according to the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
In addition, unemployment will continue to decrease, but increasing inflation will have a dampening impact on purchasing power.
For the coming decades, the growth of the Dutch economy will be lower than in the years preceding the economic crisis, the CPB concluded.
"Growth figures of 3 percent, 4 percent or even 5 percent are a thing of the past," said CPB Director Laura van Geest in a statement.
"Lower growth is the future, not only for the Netherlands, but also for many other western countries.
"This is the result, among other things, of population ageing and declining productivity growth. Stimulating potential growth is an option, but it can be intractable," he added.
The government budget surplus is projected at 0.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) this year and increasing to 0.8 percent in 2018. These figures are in line with what the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics CBS also published on Friday.
According to the CBS, the Dutch government already had a budget surplus of 2.9 billion euros (3.13 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, which is 0.4 percent of GDP.
In 2015, there still was a budget deficit of 2.1 percent. The last time the Dutch government had a budget surplus was in 2008. After that year the economic crisis broke out and a deficit of 5.4 percent arose in 2009.
"The conclusion is that we managed to restore the Dutch economy," outgoing Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp told national broadcaster NOS.
Outgoing Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem called the economic growth and the budget surplus "good news for the Netherlands".