Enterprises anticipate further growth in 2018

© Hollandse Hoogte
Dutch entrepreneurs expect turnover, employment and investments to increase further in 2018. Their expectations are most positive towards turnover. The business confidence indicator, measured in October, stands at 13.4 points in Q4, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK), the Economic Institute for Construction and Housing (EIB), the Dutch organisation for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MKB-Nederland) and the Dutch Employers’ Organisation (VNO-NCW).

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.

Business expectations for 2018 (Balance % positive and negative answers)
 Staff numbersInvestments
Total private sector17.710
Manufacturing industry1310.6
Car trade and repairs6.45.4
Retail trade14.713.1
Transport and storage7.88.2
Hotels and restaurants1910.8
Information and communication26.44.9
Rental and trade real estate7.429.1
Business services22.74.2

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:

Business expectations for 2018 by size of enterprise (Balance % positive and negative answers)
 Total private sectorSmall enterprisesMedium-sized enterprisesLarge enterprises
International turnover14.612.619.413.0
Staff numbers17.716.222.515.6

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.

Business confidence
 Business confidence
'08 IV-7
2009 I-24.3
2009 II-29.7
2009 III-23.5
2009 IV-13.5
2010 I-7.1
2010 II0.5
2010 III3.4
2010 IV6.1
2011 I7.2
2011 II10.1
2011 III3.2
2011 IV-4.4
2012 I-6.3
2012 II-6.8
2012 III-8.6
2012 IV-9.2
2013 I-10.7
2013 II-11.7
2013 III-8.7
2013 IV-2.7
2014 I1.6
2014 II4.7
2014 III2.9
2014 IV4.9
2015 I5.6
2015 II5.4
2015 III8.7
2015 IV7.4
2016 I9.3
2016 II8.8
2016 III7.9
2016 IV9.2
2017 I14.7
2017 II15.5
2017 III15.9
2017 IV13.4

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