Dutch manufacturers again less negative

Confidence among Dutch manufacturers is again less negative in December. Producer confidence now stands at -0.4, up from -3.8 in November, as reported today by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). This the highest level since April 2020. Manufacturers are mainly more positive about future output.

The long-term average over the past two decades is 0.3. Producer confidence reached an all-time high (10.9) in February 2018 and an all-time low (-28.7) in April 2020. Pessimism has prevailed among Dutch manufacturers since April 2020.

Producer confidence manufacturing industry (seasonally adjusted)
yearmonthbalance (average of the component questions)
2017January6
2017February7
2017March7.8
2017April8.3
2017May6.1
2017June7.2
2017July6.6
2017August5.4
2017September8.5
2017October8.2
2017November9.1
2017December8.9
2018January10.3
2018February10.9
2018March9.5
2018April8.2
2018May9.8
2018June7.7
2018July6.3
2018August5.9
2018September5.7
2018October5.9
2018November7.2
2018December7.5
2019January5.8
2019February6.3
2019March6.1
2019April6.7
2019May4.7
2019Juni3.3
2019Juli 3.9
2019August3.9
2019September3.3
2019October3.6
2019November2.8
2019December2.9
2020January2.5
2020February3.7
2020March0.2
2020April-28.7
2020May-25.1
2020June-15.1
2020July-8.7
2020August-5.4
2020September-4.8
2020October-5.6
2020November-3.8
2020December-0.4

Manufacturers more positive about future output, less negative about order position

In December, manufacturers are more positive about future output. Opinions of manufacturers about their order position are less negative for the seventh consecutive month. They are slightly more positive about their stocks of finished products. 

Manufacturers’ opinions on two component indicators are positive. Manufacturers who anticipate output to increase over the next three months outnumber those expecting output to decrease. There are fewer manufacturers who define their current stocks of finished products as too large rather than too small.

The other component indicator is negative. More manufacturers consider their order position to be weak rather than strong, given the time of year. 

Producers in timber and building materials industry most positive

Confidence has improved in almost all of the indicated sectors. The most positive are producers of timber and building materials. The most negative opinions are found among entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
 December 2020 (average of the component questions)November 2020 (average of the component questions)
Timber and building materials11.22.9
Textiles, clothes, leather8.1-4
Transport equipment73.1
Petroleum4.53.1
Paper and printing3.7-3.3
Metal-1.3-6.4
Electrotechnical products and machinery-2.5-3.8
Food, beverages, tobacco-2.8-7.9

Manufacturing output almost 4 percent down in October

In October 2020, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 3.7 percent down on October 2019. This is the smallest contraction after May 2020, when output was more than 12 percent lower than one year previously.

Confidence among German manufacturers continues to improve

Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. According to the Business Climate Index of the IFO Institute, producer confidence has improved in December for the eight consecutive month. Opinions on both the present level of business activity and that over the next few months are now more positive. In October, the average daily output generated by the German industry contracted by over 4 percent year-on-year, as reported by Destatis. 

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