Manufacturers slightly more confident

Producers’ confidence in the manufacturing industry has improved slightly in May. Changes in producers’ confidence have been very limited for a year now. Indeed, producers’ confidence in May is almost at the level of the average for the last twelve months, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.

More positive on stocks and orders

Producers’ confidence is a sentiment indicator for the manufacturing industry. The figure consists of three component indicators: expected production in the next three months, opinions on stocks of finished products, and opinions on orders received.

Producers’ confidence comes to 0.8 in May 2005. Manufacturers are thus slightly more positive than in April. They are more satisfied with their stocks, especially manufacturers of semi-manufactured products. Companies are also more optimistic with respect to orders. However, they are more sombre about production in the coming three months.

Manufacturing sector does not intend to recruit more staff

One in six manufacturing companies expect to have to reduce staff, while one twenty expect to recruit more staff. These percentages have hardly changed since the beginning of last year. The last time there were more companies who expected to recruit than to dismiss staff was April 2001.

One in eleven manufacturers expect prices to decrease, while one in fourteen expect them to increase. Companies producing semi-manufactures in particular expect lower prices. In 2004 goods producers expecting prices to increase exceeded those expecting them to decrease. Since February this year, the two groups are about equal.