Business confidence construction sector positive for the first time since 2008


Business confidence in the construction sector improved in the first quarter of 2015 and climbed to +3. Business confidence, the indicator reflecting the mood in the Dutch private sector, was positive for the first time since its introduction in 2008. Building contractors anticipate more business activities in their sector in the next three months, as Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Dutch Organisation for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MKB Nederland) and the Dutch Employers’ Organisation (VNO-NCW) announced today.

Business confidence private sector marginally up

Business confidence in the entire Dutch private sector was also higher at the beginning of the first quarter than in the same period in the preceding quarter. Over the past five quarters, optimism has prevailed in the private sector. The confidence indicator stands at 6, i.e. one point higher than in the fourth quarter of 2014. The increase is the net result of positive and negative developments in the various sectors. The services sector and the sector manufacturing industry also showed improvement, but business confidence declined in the sector trade.

Business confidence down in sector trade

Confidence fell in wholesale and retail trade, but the indicator remains positive. Wholesale traders thought the economic climate in the Netherlands was less favourable. Retailers are less positive about their anticipated turnover than in the previous quarters. The mood among motorcycle and car dealers has been negative during the past four quarters.
There is growing confidence among providers of business services and in the information and communication sector. Manufacturers are also more optimistic. Statistics Netherlands stated earlier that producer confidence in manufacturing industry had risen to +3.

Private sector more optimistic about their profitability potential

For the first time in more than four years, producers are positive about their profitability potential. In most sectors, producers who report higher profitability figures outnumber those who report lower profitability figures. The gap between optimists and pessimists is most obvious in the transport sector. Profitability deteriorated in the sectors construction, rental services and other business services. Although profitability fell in the construction sector, the number of building contractors who were faced with lower profitability figures was reduced by half relative to one year previously.

A more comprehensive report on Business Confidence in the Netherlands and the Business Cycle Survey Netherlands first quarter 2015 can be accessed on