Manufacturers slightly less confident in July

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According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), confidence among Dutch manufacturers stood at 6.6 in July, down from 7.2 in June. Manufacturers are mainly less positive about their future output.

Since October 2014, optimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers. The confidence indicator is considerably above the level of its long-term average over the past two decades (0.7). 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.

Less positive about future output and order books

In July, Dutch manufacturers were distinctly less positive about their future output in the next three months and their order books. The mood about their stocks of finished products hardly changed.

All component indicators of producer confidence were positive in July. 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 wood and construction industry most positive

For eight months in a row, optimism has prevailed across all subsectors of the manufacturing industry. Most optimistic in July were producers in the wood and construction industry.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
Wood and
Electrotechnical products
and machinery
Paper and printing7.3

Industrial capacity utilisation rate at highest level since 2008

At the beginning of Q3 2017, the industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 83.4 percent. The last time capacity utilisation reached such a level was in April and July 2008, the previous period of economic upturn.

In addition, the percentage share of companies with a shortage of qualified workers as the greatest barrier to their production rose to its highest level since measurement started in the 1980s.

Manufacturing output up again

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 3.9 percent up in May 2017 from May 2016. The growth rate was higher than in April. For over more than eighteen months, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same month one year previously. The strongest growth was seen in the machinery industry.

German producer confidence again higher

Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. Confidence among German manufacturers reached a new record high in July. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was 4.9 percent higher in May 2017 than one year previously.