Lower investments anticipated in manufacturing for 2019

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
Producers in the manufacturing industry expect to invest 7 percent less in 2019 than in 2018. They also anticipate investments for 2018 to be 44 percent higher than in 2017 by the end of the year. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of a semi-annual survey on investment expectations among enterprises in the manufacturing industry.

It concerns investments in tangible fixed assets which entrepreneurs will put into use in 2019, such as buildings, factories, machinery, transport equipment and computers. Although manufacturers anticipate lower investments for next year, their expectations for this year are even more positive than they were at the time of the spring survey. During that survey, manufacturers still expected to invest 25 percent more in 2018 relative to 2017.

Last year, manufacturers invested nearly 8.7 billion euros in tangible fixed assets, i.e. almost 9 percent more than in 2016. This means expectations in the last survey of 2017 (i.e. a 19 percent increase relative to 2016) were higher than the ultimate realisation. As of 2015, expectations have consistently exceeded realisations by a narrow margin. This was mainly because investments were completed later than planned or were moved to a later date than originally planned.

Development of investments in manufacturing
 Realised investments (year-on-year % change)Anticipated investments in autumn (year-on-year % change)

Fewer positive expectations among large sectors

Manufacturers in large sectors such as the food, beverages and tobacco industry, and the metal and electronics industry still expect to utilise slightly more tangible assets in 2019 than this year. However, expectations are less positive than they were in 2018 relative to last year.

The most significant disparities in this and next year’s expectations are seen at refineries and in the chemical industry. Entrepreneurs in these sectors expect to have invested 83 percent more in assets by the end of this year relative to last year, whilst anticipating a decrease of 27 percent for next year. This year, many new buildings have been put into use in these sectors.

Anticipated investments
 2019 (year-on-year % change)2018 (year-on-year % change)
Refineries and chemical industry-2483

Motives for investment

In 2018, most investments have been earmarked for expansion; 41 percent of entrepreneurs cite this as the main reason to invest. For 2019, they mainly expect to replace assets (36 percent). Expansion and replacement are the main motives for producers to invest; 74 percent of investors expect to do so in 2018 and nearly 70 percent in 2019.

Motives for investment
   Replacement (%)Expansion (%)Efficiency (%)Other (%)
Refineries and chemical industry201944261713
Refineries and chemical industry20183347119