Manufacturers less confident in May

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© Hollandse Hoogte
According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), confidence among Dutch manufacturers stood at 6.1 in May, down from 8.3 in April. Manufacturers are notably less positive about their future output and their order books.

Since October 2014, optimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers. In spite of the decline in May, the confidence indicator is still considerably above the level of 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 less positive about future output and order books

In May, Dutch manufacturers were clearly less positive about their future output in the next three months and about their order books. They were also less positive about their stocks of finished products. Nonetheless, all component indicators of producer confidence were positive in May.

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 is also larger than the number of manufacturers who define them as too large.

Producers in the textile and clothing industry most positive

Optimism prevails across all subsectors of manufacturing industry. Producers of textile, clothing and leather products are most optimistic in May, followed by their counterparts in the wood and construction industry. Confidence among manufacturers in the transport equipment industry improved. In nearly all other branches confidence deteriorated.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
Wood and
Electrotechnical products
and machinery
Paper and printing6.1

Manufacturing output up in March

Average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 4 percent up in March 2017 from March 2016. The increase was slightly smaller than in February. Over the past eighteen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. The strongest growth was recorded in the machinery industry.

Growing confidence among German manufacturers

Germany is an important foreign market for Dutch manufacturing industry. Unlike their Dutch colleagues, German manufacturers were more positive in May. They were especially more positive about their future output. Confidence among German manufacturers reached its highest level in almost 6 years. The average daily output generated by German manufacturing industry was 1.4 percent higher in March 2017 than one year earlier.