Confidence among manufacturers improves further

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© Hollandse Hoogte
According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), confidence among Dutch manufacturers stood at 7.8 in March 2017, up from 7.0 in February. Manufacturers are especially more positive about their future output. Producer confidence reached its highest level in 9 years.

Since October 2014, optimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers. Confidence is significantly above its long-term average over the past two decades (0.6). 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.

Notably more positive about future output

In March, Dutch manufacturers were much more positive about their future output over the next three months. They were also more positive about their order books and their stocks of finished products.

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

Producers wood and construction materials most positive

Confidence is positive across all subsectors of manufacturing industry. Just as in the previous months, producers of wood and construction materials are most optimistic, followed by their counterparts in the sector transport equipment, whose confidence improved most.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
Wood and
Electrotechnical products
and machinery
Paper and printing6.7

Manufacturing output continues to grow in January

The average daily output generated by Dutch manufacturing industry was 1.5 percent up in January 2017 from January 2016. The growth rate was significantly lower than in December. Over the past sixteen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. Output generated by the sector machinery and equipment grew most rapidly.

German producer confidence also improving

Germany is an important foreign market for Dutch manufacturing industry. German manufacturers were also more optimistic in March than in February. In particular, they were more positive about their future output results. Producer confidence in Germany reached the highest level in almost 6 years. The average daily output generated by German manufacturing industry was 0.6 higher in January 2017 than in January 2016.