Manufacturers again less confident

26/04/2018 15:00
© Hollandse Hoogte
According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), confidence among Dutch manufacturers stood at 8.2 in April, down from 9.5 in March. Confidence deteriorated for the second consecutive month. However, the confidence indicator remains well above its long-term average over the past two decades (0.8). In April, manufacturers were again less positive about their future output than in the previous month.

Business confidence reached an all-time high (10.9) 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 April, Dutch manufacturers were less positive about their future output than one month previously. They were also less positive about the stocks of finished products. However, their mood about the order books improved.

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. Producers in the wood and building materials industry were most positive in April. Manufacturers in the metal, electrotechnical, machinery, food and petroleum industries were less positive than in the previous month.

Industrial capacity utilisation rate at highest level since 2008

At the beginning of Q2 2018, the industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 83.6 percent. This is the highest level of the capacity utilisation rate in over a decade.
Manufacturers’ expectations in April about the future workforce remained the same as in March, when expectations were the highest in 28 years.

Manufacturing output over 4 percent up in February

The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 4.2 percent up in February compared to the same month last year. The growth rate was lower than in January, when the highest increase in almost 7 years was achieved. For over two years now, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same period year-on-year. The strongest growth in February 2018 was seen in the pharmaceutical industry.

German manufacturers also less positive

Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. Confidence (i.e. the IFO index) dropped in April for the third consecutive month. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was almost 3 percent higher in February 2018 than one year previously.

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