The confidence indicator remains well above its long-term average over the past two decades (0.8). 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.
More positive about future output
In May, Dutch manufacturers were more positive about their future output than one month previously. Their mood about the order books also improved. However, they were more negative about their stocks of finished products.
For the first time in over a year, not all component indicators of producer confidence are positive. For example, there are more manufacturers who define their stocks of finished products as too large rather than too small.
The other two component indicators remain at a high level. 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.
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 May. Confidence of producers in the transport equipment industry is also above average.
Manufacturing output 3.5 percent up in March
The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 3.5 percent up in March compared to the same month last year. The growth rate was lower than in February. For over two years now, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same period year-on-year. The strongest growth in March 2018 was again seen in the pharmaceutical industry.
Confidence among German manufacturers stable
Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. Confidence (i.e. the IFO index) more or less stabilised in May after three months of decline. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was over 4 percent higher in March 2018 than one year previously.