The overall trend has been downward since the start of this year. However, the confidence indicator remains well above its long-term average over the past two decades (0.8). Producer 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 October, Dutch manufacturers were more positive about their future output than in the previous month. Manufacturers’ opinions on the order books also improved slightly. However, they were less positive about their stocks of finished products.
Two component indicators of producer confidence are positive and one is in balance. 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 just as many manufacturers who define their stocks of finished products as too small than as too large.
Producers in the wood and building materials industry most positive
For almost two years now, optimism has prevailed across all subsectors of the manufacturing industry. In October, producers in the wood and building materials industry were most positive for the eight consecutive month.
|October 2018||September 2018|
|Wood and construction||16.2||13.4|
|Electrotechnical products and machinery||10||8|
|Textiles, clothes, leather||7.2||10.2|
|Paper and printing||6.2||9.4|
|Food, beverages, tobacco||6||2|
Industrial capacity utilisation rate slightly lower
At the beginning of Q4 2018, the industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 84.1 percent. This is slighty lower than in the previous quarter, when the highest level of the capacity utilisation rate in 17 years was reached.
|Capacity utilisation rate|
|2015 Quarter 1||80.4|
|2015 Quarter 2||81.8|
|2015 Quarter 3||82.3|
|2015 Quarter 4||82.3|
|2016 Quarter 1||81.2|
|2016 Quarter 2||81.5|
|2016 Quarter 3||81.7|
|2016 Quarter 4||82.2|
|2017 Quarter 1||81.3|
|2017 Quarter 2||82.8|
|2017 Quarter 3||83.4|
|2017 Quarter 4||83.3|
|2018 Quarter 1||83.5|
|2018 Quarter 2||83.6|
|2018 Quarter 3||84.5|
|2018 Quarter 4||84.1|
Manufacturing output over 3 percent up in August
The average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 3.1 percent up in August compared to the same month last year, a higher increase compared to July.For three years now, manufacturing output has continually been above the level of the same period year-on-year. The strongest growth in August 2018 was seen in the transport equipment industry.
German manufacturers again less positive
Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. In October, confidence of German manufacturers (i.e. the IFO index) decreased significantly due to markedly less optimistic business expectations. Growing global uncertainty is increasingly taking its toll on the German economy. The average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry was almost 1 percent lower in August 2018 than one year previously.