Producersâ€™ confidence, the sentiment indicator for the manufacturing industry, was slightly up in October 2002. Statistics Netherlandsâ€™ business sentiment survey further showed an improvement in the order portfolio of the Dutch manufacturing industry. However, manufacturers expect employment in the industry to remain under pressure in the coming months, and they foresee only a very slight increase in production in the period November to January.
Improved order portfolio
Confidence of manufacturers rose by 1.8 points in October to â€“0.6. The increase was caused mainly by an improvement in manufacturers opinionsâ€™ on their order positions and stocks of finished product. The index for the order position was 0.6 of a point higher in October at 92.7 (June 2000=100), pushed up by among other things an increase in orders received, especially from abroad. Domestic order rose only slightly. Manufacturers re more pessimistic than in September about production in the period November 2002 to January 2003.
Consumer goods industry more optimistic
Orders received in the consumer goods industry were up substantially in October, both domestic orders and those from abroad. The order portfolio increased by 1.3 percent points in October.
The order portfolios of manufacturers of investment goods rose by 1.0 percent, mainly because of more orders from abroad. In spite of this, producers in these sectors expect production to decline in the coming months.
In the raw materials and semi-manufactured goods sector an increase in orders from abroad was offset by a fall in domestic orders. The order position was 0.6 of a percent point down. In this sector on balance one fifth of companies expect to reduce staff numbers in the period November 2002 to January 2003. In the consumer goods and investment goods sectors, one tenth of companies expect to cut staff in this period.