Netherlands: Business confidence sinks to record low in April
Covid-19 has evaporated business confidence in the Dutch manufacturing sector, with the confidence index falling to a historic low of minus 28.7 (March: +0.2); the global lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of the virus has weighed heavily on domestic and foreign demand, while the duration of the pandemic remains uncertain. Moreover, the headline figure came in markedly below the long-term average of 0.8 over the past 20 years and fell markedly below the neutral zero-threshold separating pessimism from optimism.
The free-fall in confidence was broad-based as views on business expectations for the next three months, order books, and stocks of finished goods were negative. Furthermore, confidence in all subsectors deteriorated, while the capacity utilization rate at the start of the second quarter fell to the lowest level since at least 1989.