The Dutch private sector anticipates an increase in turnover, investments and employment for 2018. Over 37 percent of entrepreneurs expect their turnover to grow; a decline is anticipated by 7 percent. This means that, on balance, over 30 percent of Dutch entrepreneurs expect to realise higher turnover next year compared to 2017. Expectations regarding international turnover are positive as well. On balance, nearly 15 percent of entrepreneurs expect it to grow in 2018.
Entrepreneurs also have a positive outlook on the development of staff numbers. On balance, nearly 18 percent foresee expansion of their workforce in 2018. This share is higher than at the end of last year, when on balance 11 percent of entrepreneurs had a positive outlook on workforce developments for 2017.
On balance, 10 percent of entrepreneurs anticipate higher investments in 2018 than in 2017. Most entrepreneurs in the real estate sector have a positive outlook on this. This also applies to the sectors construction and retail trade: on balance, there are more entrepreneurs who expect an increase in investments than the average in the total private sector.
More positive outlook among medium-sized enterprises
Medium-sized companies (50 to 250 employed persons) are more likely to have a positive outlook for 2018 than other businesses. On balance, nearly 36 percent expect their turnover to grow in 2018, versus a share of 25 percent among small and 32 percent among large enterprises. Their outlook on exports and staff numbers is also more positive. As for investments, however, large enterprises are slightly more likely to forecast growth for 2018. More details on the outlook for SMEs (in Dutch only) can be found here: staatvanhetmkb.nl.
Sustained positive mood among entrepreneurs
Business confidence in the non-financial private sector has been positive without interruption since the start of 2014. After improvements in the previous four quarters, the confidence indicator stood at 13.4 points at the beginning of Q4 2017, slightly lower than at the start of Q3. Compared to recent years, business confidence is still at a high level.
Confidence among entrepreneurs in the construction sector dropped from 33.5 to 23.6 points. However, their sentiment is still the most positive compared to other sectors. The confidence indicator in the wholesale sector declined as well, by approximately 10 points to 19.9. Mining and quarrying is the only sector with a negative outlook on business.
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