Producer confidence improves in March

In March 2021, the mood among Dutch manufacturers has improved. Producer confidence stands at 3.4 this month, up from 0.1 in February, as reported today by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Manufacturers are more positive about their expected future output and their order position.

The long-term average over the past two decades is 0.2. Producer confidence reached an all-time high (10.9) in February 2018 and an all-time low (-28.7) in April 2020. 

Producer confidence manufacturing industry (seasonally adjusted)
yearmonthbalance (average of the component questions)
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
2021January0.6
2021February0.1
2021March3.4

Manufacturers more positive about future output

In March, manufacturers are more optimistic about future output than in the previous month. They are also more positive about their order position. Their opinion on stocks of finished products remains the same as in February.

Manufacturers’ opinions on all three component indicators are positive. There are fewer manufacturers who define their current stocks of finished products as too large rather than too small. Manufacturers who anticipate output to increase over the next three months outnumber those expecting a decrease. More manufacturers consider their order position to be strong rather than weak, given the time of year.

Confidence highest in timber and building materials industry

In March, producer confidence is highest in the timber and building materials industry. Confidence increased in six out of the eight industries shown below, while it deteriorated in two others. The most negative opinions are found in the food, beverages and tobacco industry.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
 March 2021 (average of the component questions)February 2021 (average of the component questions)
Timber and building materials14.54.9
Electrotechnical products and machinery11.14.1
Transport equipment10.47.1
Petroleum8.23.8
Paper and printing1.7-6.5
Textiles, clothes, leather0.1-6.7
Metal-0.22
Food, beverages, tobacco-4.8-3.4

Manufacturing output 0.6 up in January

In January 2021, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 0.6 percent up on January 2020. This was a slightly bigger increase than in December, when output was 0.2 percent higher than one year previously.

Producer confidence also improving in Germany

Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. German producer confidence improved considerably in March, according to the Business Climate Index of the IFO Institute. This is due to both an improved outlook on future output and a more positive opinion about the current situation. In January, the average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry contracted by more than 3 percent year-on-year, as reported by Destatis.