Manufacturers expect to invest more

Dutch manufacturing companies expect to invest 2 percent more this year than in 2003. The increase in investment in 2004 is dampened by companies in the chemical industry, which expect to spend 37 percent less on fixed capital formation than last year. Other branches of manufacturing expect to invest 14 to 31 percent more, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.

Predominantly positive

Nearly all manufacturing and public utilities companies are positive about their intended fixed capital formation in 2004. Excluding the chemical sector, manufacturers expect a growth of 19 percent.

After two years of relatively low investment spending, the metal and electrical engineering branch expects an increase of 23 percent in 2004. The opposite is true for the chemical sector. Companies in this sector expect to invest 37 percent less in 2004, after two years of noticeably high investment spending.

Investment by companies in mineral extraction show as similar development. Expected investment is lower in 2004 after two years of relatively high investment. Public utilities companies expect a growth of 30 percent.

More cautious about 2005

Nearly all manufacturing companies are more cautious when it comes to predictions for 2005. This is characteristic of companies making predictions in the first half the year about the next calendar year. At the moment manufacturers expect to spend 7 percent less on investment in 2005 compared with 2004. However, in the past few years these spring expectations have always been adjusted upwards by manufacturers as the next calendar year approaches and they have a clearer idea of developments. When asked after the summer, most manufacturing companies’ expectations are about 15 percent points higher than in the spring.

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