Netherlands: Business confidence moderates at the start of the new year
Sentiment among Dutch producers moderated markedly from 7.5 in December to 5.8 in January, chiefly on the back of less optimism regarding expected business activity. As a result, the index moved closer to the neutral zero-point mark that separates optimism from pessimism. However, the print remained handsomely above the long-term average over the past 20 years of 0.9. Moreover, the index has remained in optimistic territory since October 2014.
In addition to a less rosy view on future activity, the drop in sentiment was further affected by growing pessimism regarding stocks of finished goods, The majority of survey-respondents consider the stock of finished goods to be too large. As a result, this sub-indicator fell into negative territory. On the other hand, the fall in sentiment was softened by improved sentiment regarding order books. For the 11th consecutive month, manufacturers in the wood and construction materials sector were the most optimistic.