Producer confidence at highest level in two years

© Hollandse Hoogte / Bert Beelen
In April 2021, the mood among Dutch manufacturers has improved further. Producer confidence stands at 6.5 this month, up from 3.4 in March, as reported today by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Producers have not been so positive since May 2019.

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.

Producer confidence manufacturing industry (seasonally adjusted)
yearmonthbalance (average of the component questions)
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
2021April6.5

Manufacturers mainly more positive about order position

In April, manufacturers are mainly more positive about their order position compared to the previous month. They are also more optimistic about future output. Their opinion on stocks of finished products has improved as well.

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 April, producer confidence is again highest in the timber and building materials industry. In all industries shown below, confidence has improved and is positive.

Producer confidence by sector (seasonally adjusted)
 April 2021 (average of the component questions)March 2021 (average of the component questions)
Timber and building materials20.514.5
Electrotechnical products and machinery14.911.1
Transport equipment12.410.4
Petroleum9.58.2
Metal5.9-0.2
Paper and printing2.81.7
Textiles, clothes, leather0.80.1
Food, beverages, tobacco0.4-4.8

Capacity utilisation rate again higher

The industrial capacity utilisation rate stood at 81.7 percent at the start of Q2 2021. This was higher than at the start of Q1, but still lower than before the coronavirus crisis.

Capacity utilisation rate, first month of the quarter
   Capacity utilisation rate (%) (%)
2017Quarter 282.8
2017Quarter 383.4
2017Quarter 483.3
2018Quarter 183.5
2018Quarter 283.6
2018Quarter 384.5
2018Quarter 484.1
2019Quarter 183.9
2019Quarter 284.3
2019Quarter 384.3
2019Quarter 484
2020Quarter 182.7
2020Quarter 274.2
2020Quarter 376.9
2020Quarter 479.2
2021Quarter 180
2021Quarter 281.7

Manufacturing output almost 2 percent down in February

In February 2021, the average daily output generated by the Dutch manufacturing industry was 1.7 percent down on February 2020. In January, output was up by 0.3 percent.

Producer confidence also improving in Germany

Germany is an important foreign market for the Dutch manufacturing industry. German producer confidence has improved to the highest level since June 2018, according to the Business Climate Index of the IFO Institute. Companies reported greatly improved business, but optimism declined with regard to expectations. Capacity utilisation rose from 81.9 to 86.2 percent. In February, the average daily output generated by the German manufacturing industry contracted by more than 6 percent year-on-year, as reported by Destatis.