Dutch manufacturers remain positive

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Statistics Netherlands (CBS) says confidence among Dutch manufacturers hardly changed. The producer confidence indicator stood at 5.1 in July, down from 5.4 in June, which was the highest level in more than 5 years. The measurement was taken after the UK referendum about EU membership.

Since October 2014, optimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers. Manufacturers in the wood and construction industry are most optimistic.

Confidence among manufacturers is still well above its long-term average over the past two decades (0.5). The business confidence indicator reached an all-time high (9.4) in January 2008, but dipped to an all-time low (- 23.5) more than one year later.

Somewhat less positive about future output, order books and stocks

In July, Dutch manufacturers are somewhat less positive about their order books and their future output over the next three months. Their opinions about their stocks of finished products also slightly deteriorated compared to June.

All three component indicators of producer confidence are positive in July. Manufacturers anticipating output growth over the next three months, for example, outnumber those expecting output to decline during this period. Given the time of year, manufacturers who think the number of orders they received is large outnumber those who think the opposite. Lastly, manufacturers who define their stocks of finished products as too small still constitute a majority over those who define them as too large.

Producers in the wood and construction industry most optimistic

Manufacturers in the wood and construction industry are most optimistic, followed by their counterparts in the metal industry. Manufacturers in the wood and construction industry in particular are positive about their order books. Producers of transport equipment, on the other hand, are negative, mainly because of their future output prospects.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
Wood and construction12.7
Paper and printing6.7
Electrotechnical products and machinery5.9
Transport equipment-6.8

Industrial capacity utilisation rate marginally higher

At the beginning of Q3 2016, the industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 81.7 percent, marginally higher than in the preceding quarter. The rate has risen almost continuously since Q3 2013.

Steady growth manufacturing output

Early this month, CBS reported that the average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was 1.1 percent up in May 2016 from the same month last year. The increase was smaller than in April. Output realised in the sector transport equipment grew noticeably in May, but output in the machinery industry slumped.

German manufacturers also somewhat less positive

Germany is an important foreign market for Dutch manufacturing industry. German manufacturers were also somewhat less optimistic in July than in June. German confidence is still at the second highest level this year. The output level of German manufacturing industry was marginally lower in May 2016 than in May 2015.