Manufacturers slightly less positive

29/03/2018 15:00
According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), confidence among Dutch manufacturers stood at 9.5 in March, down from 10.9 in February. However, the confidence indicator remains well above its long-term average over the past two decades (0.8). In March, manufacturers were less positive about their future output than in February.

Business confidence reached an all-time high (10.3) in February 2018 and an all-time low (-23.5) in February 2009. Since October 2014, optimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers.

Less positive about future output

In March, Dutch manufacturers were less positive about their future output than one month previously. They were also slightly less positive about their order books. Their mood about stocks of finished products hardly changed.

All component indicators of producer confidence have been positive for over a year now. Manufacturers anticipating output growth over the next three months outnumber those expecting output decline. More manufacturers consider the number of received orders to be large rather than small, given the time of year. There are also more manufacturers who define their stocks of finished products as too small rather than too large.

Producers in the wood and building materials industry most positive

For more than one year now, optimism has prevailed across all subsectors of the manufacturing industry. Those in the wood and building materials industry were most positive in March.

Manufacturers even more optimistic about employment

In February 2018, manufacturers’ expectations about the future workforce were the highest in 28 years. They were even more positive about employment in March. Nearly 21 percent of manufacturers expected an increase whereas almost 6 percent anticipated a decline. Hence, the balance of positive and negative answers was over 15 percent.

Manufacturing output over 7 percent up in January

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 7.1 percent up in January 2018 relative to the same month one year previously. This is the highest increase since March 2011. For over two years now, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same period year-on-year.

German manufacturers also less positive

Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. Confidence (i.e. the IFO index) dropped in March, but remains at a high level. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was over 6 percent higher in January 2018 than one year previously.

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