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 stocks
In April, Dutch manufacturers were more positive about their stocks of finished products. They were also slightly more positive about their future output over the next three months, but less positive about their order books.
All three component indicators of producer confidence were positive in April. 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 in wood and construction industry most positive
Confidence is positive across all subsectors of the manufacturing industry. Just as in the previous months, producers in the wood and construction industry are most optimistic, followed by their counterparts in the textile, clothing and leather industry.
Industrial capacity utilisation rate improved
At the beginning of Q2 2017, the industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 82.8 percent. The rate reached its highest level since 2009.
Manufacturing output also up in February
The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 5 percent up in February 2017 relative to the same month one year previously. The increase was higher than in January. Over the past seventeen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month year-on-year. The strongest growth was seen in the transport equipment industry.
German producer confidence slightly deteriorated
Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. German manufacturers were somewhat less optimistic in April than in March. They were more positive about their current production levels, but slightly less positive about their future output. However, they do expect their production levels to increase. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was 1.4 percent higher in February 2017 than in the same month one year previously.