The confidence indicator is well above its long-term average in the past two decades (0.7). Business confidence reached an all-time high (10.3) in January 2018. An all-time low (-23.5) was recorded in February 2009. Since October 2014, optimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers.
More positive about future output
In January, manufacturers were more positive about their future output than one month previously. However, the mood among Dutch manufacturers about their order books deteriorated. Their mood about stocks of finished products hardly changed.
All component indicators of producer confidence are positive for January 2018. Manufacturers anticipating output growth over the next three months outnumber those expecting output decline. More manufacturers consider the number of orders they receive to be large, rather than small, given the time of year. The number of manufacturers defining their stocks of finished products as too small is also larger than those who define them as too large.
Producers in transport equipment industry most positive
Already for more than a year, optimism has prevailed across all subsectors of the manufacturing industry. Most optimistic in January were producers in the transport equipment industry. Last week, CBS reported that in November exports of machinery, appliances and cars increased again most notably. Furthermore, output generated by the transport equipment industry was over 18 percent up in November 2017 relative to the same month in 2016.
Industrial capacity utilisation rate at highest level since 2008
At the beginning of Q1 2018, the industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 83.5 percent. This is the highest level of the capacity utilisation rate in a decade.
Manufacturing output over 4 percent up in November
The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 4.4 percent up in November 2017 compared to the same month one year previously. The growth rate was slightly higher than in October. For over two years now, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same period year-on-year.
German producer confidence also at record high
Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. Confidence (i.e. the IFO index) hit a record high in January. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was over 6 percent higher in November 2017 than one year previously.