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Netherlands business confidence improves in February

Staff Writer |
After moderating strongly in January, business confidence improved in February with the headline figure rising from 5.8 to 6.3.

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Moreover, the index moved further north of the neutral zero-point mark that separates optimism from pessimism and remained easily above the long-term average of 0.9 over the past 20 years.

The index has remained in optimistic territory since October 2014.

The improvement came on the coattails of an improved assessment of stocks of finished goods.

In contrast, producers became less optimistic regarding business expectations and their order books.

The moderation in business expectations is likely linked to the struggling German industrial sector, which has had a weak fourth quarter; Germany is a key export market for Dutch manufacturers.

All three components were in optimistic territory, however.

For the 12th month running, producers in the wood and construction materials sector were the most upbeat.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see fixed investment growing 2.1% in 2019, which is down 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast.

For 2020, the panel expects fixed investment to expand 2.0%.

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