Dutch utilisation capacity rate exceptionally low

07/05/2009 15:00

The industrial capacity utilisation rate in the Netherlands is exceptionally low. In April 2009, manufacturing industry used over 74 percent of total output capacity available. Yet, the Dutch rate is one of the highest in the EU.

Industrial capacity utilisation rate by quarter
Industrial capacity utilisation rate by quarter

Steep downturn

Early 2009, the capacity utilisation rate of Dutch manufacturing industry was reduced considerably and currently is significantly lower than in the preceding two decades, when the rate varied between 80 and 87 percent. In previous periods of economic recession, e.g. in 1993 and 2003, the rate also dropped, though much more gradual than today and the downturn was less dramatic.

Industrial capacity utilisation rate by branch
Industrial capacity utilisation rate by branch

Most dramatic downturn in metal industry

The industrial capacity utilisation rate in April was 9 percentage points down on one year previously. The decline was recorded across all branches. The most dramatic downturn from 82 to 668 percent was observed in the metal and electro-technical industry. The rate was particularly low in the basic metal and transport equipment industries.

The rate also dropped significantly in the petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic industry. Various industries seized the opportunity offered by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to reduce working hours.

The capacity utilisation rate dropped only marginally in the food, drinks and tobacco industry relative to twelve months ago, as the demand for food products is less easily affected by the prevailing economic situation.

Industrial capacity utilisation rate by country
Industrial capacity utilisation rate by country

Capacity utilisation rate in the Netherlands high compared to the rest of Europe

The capacity utilisation rate dropped also substantially in other European countries. The downturn in the Netherlands is below average in the EU. In April 2009, the rate in the Netherlands was one of the highest in Europe and second only to Denmark.

Karin van der Ven and Wouter Jonkers