In January 2010, Dutch manufacturers were somewhat more pessimistic than in December 2009. The producer confidence index fell from -8.1 to -8.3, but manufacturers were much more optimistic about their competitive position on foreign markets than a quarter previously.
Producer confidence consists of three component indicators: expected output in the next three months, producers’ opinions on their order books and their opinions on stocks of finished products.
Manufacturers remained as pessimistic as last month about their future production over the next three months. Their opinions on their order position deteriorated slightly, whereas their opinions on the stocks of finished products improved marginally.
In January, Dutch manufactures reported a small increase in the value of orders received for the fourth consecutive month. They were less negative about future employment in their branch than in December, but manufacturers expecting employment in their branch to decrease in the next three months still heavily outnumbered those expecting an increase.
Just as in October 2009, manufacturers indicated that their competitive position on the Dutch market had not changed. On the other hand, they were much more optimistic about their competitive position on the foreign markets, in particular the foreign markets within the EU. For the first time in two years, the number of manufacturers reporting an improvement exceeded those reporting a downturn.
In January, the capacity utilisation rate hardly changed compared to October 2009. With 77.3 percent, it remained extremely low. In the period 1989–2008, the rate continually ranged between 80 and 87 percent. Since January 2009, it has varied between 74 and 78 percent.
Producer confidence in manufacturing industry