Downturn bites, industrial sales plunge

The economic downturn is beginning to bite in the Netherlands with manufacturers reporting a fall in turnover of a record 14% in November 2008, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS on Tuesday.

This is the biggest annual decrease since the beginning of the 1990s when figures were first recorded, the CBS says. The fall was 3% month-on-month.
Manufacturing output was also down 6% in November. This is ‘a very sharp fall’ and the biggest ever recorded, the CBS reports.
‘The Dutch economy was also slow in the years 2001 to 2003, but the decline was much more gradual. This time there was a rapid shift,’ CBS economist Michiel Vergeer told news agency Reuters.
All sectors have been hit by the slump but the biggest losses have been in the clothing, chemical, natural gas, rubber and plastic industries.
The CBS points out that the figures were affected by the fact that November 2008 had two fewer working days than the same month in 2007 and that sales prices were lower.
The Netherlands is forecast to enter a full blown recession this year and the government’s economic policy think tank says companies which depend on exports will bear the brunt of the downturn.
Meanwhile the Financieele Dagblad reports that small and medium-sized companies are finding it much harder to attract credit because of the financial crisis.
One quarter of companies with between 100 and 250 workers are pessimistic about their cahnces to secure loans, the paper says.

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