20 December 2017
89% of surveyed Dutch business leaders are optimistic about what 2018 and 2019 will bring
Only 21% now think another EU member state will choose to copy Brexit – a year ago that figure was 59%
But 78% think President Trump will be bad for the global economy, up from 65% a year ago
Dutch business is growing in confidence as it looks forward to 2018 and 2019, a new survey shows. The fifth annual Eden McCallum economic outlook survey gathered the views of almost 200 senior business leaders to assess where sentiment lay after a turbulent political year.
The survey found that 89% of Dutch businesses surveyed are optimistic about prospects for the Dutch economy over the next 1-2 years. That positive mood applies to the Eurozone too – 77% feel that things will go well here over the same time frame.
Brexit is a cause for concern, however. 67% of Dutch business leaders surveyed said it would be bad for the Dutch economy, while 75% thought it would be bad for the EU as a whole.
However, only 27% of Dutch firms thought that Brexit would harm their own company’s interests, and only 21% now think it is likely that another EU member state might choose to copy Brexit, down from 59% a year ago.
Dena McCallum, co-founder of Eden McCallum, says: “It is striking to see how much more positive Dutch businesses’ views are when compared with the quite intense gloom seen in the UK right now. A divide in Europe has truly opened up.”
Heleen Wachters, co-head of Eden McCallum’s Dutch office, adds: “It is perhaps not surprising that Dutch business is maintaining a positive outlook. The Eurozone is looking stronger, and while Brexit is a distraction which adds some uncertainty, the overall strength of the European economy is more significant.”
And Marjon Wanders, who co-leads Eden McCallum’s Dutch office with her, remarks: “Many business leaders are relieved that elections in the past year in France, Germany and the Netherlands did not lead to the landslide victories for far right (and anti-EU) political parties, which had been predicted in the polls in the months following Brexit. The fact that these parties have not been able to gain power is likely to have significantly bolstered confidence in
the stability and outlook for the Eurozone”.
Other matters to note:
Over the past 3 years Dutch business has become more concerned about the US and less concerned about China as the source of a future global financial crisis. Concerns about the US have grown from 9% to 40% from 2015 to this year; while the likelihood of China being the source of the next global financial crisis fell from 56% to 29% over the same period.
A mini survey of Swiss business leaders (33 companies), also carried out by Eden McCallum, indicated that they considered Brexit less of a threat (69% said it would make no difference to them). But Swiss businesses were most certain that Brexit would definitely take place (94% thought so – the equivalent figures for the UK were 87% and 78% in the Netherlands) and that they would benefit from it (20%).
Eden McCallum’s Economic Outlook Survey
Eden McCallum’s survey was conducted online with their clients and other senior business leaders in the UK and the Netherlands, across all sectors and both publicly listed and private companies and partnerships. Responses were gathered between 15th and 28th November 2017, and at the same time of year in previous years. In 2017 there were 187 respondents to the Netherlands survey.