According to the latest preliminary figures by Statistics Netherlands Dutch industrial production in February 2002 was down 4.0% on February 2001. The metal industry is facing hard times, with production down by more than 10%.
In the previous nine months industrial production had also been down on the year before. The drop early in the year 2002 is not as large as at the end of 2001 though. In the period January-February 2002 production was 3.8% lower than the year before, while it was down by more than 6% in October-December.
Industry seems to be reducing stocks
Earlier this week Statistics Netherlands published that industrial turnover in February was down by 6%. In combination with the 4.3% drop in selling prices this indicated a drop in turnover volume of more than 1.5%. The fact that the production volume declined even more sharply indicates that the stocks of finished products are being reduced. In October and November last year industry also reduced its stocks. According to the economic survey conducted by Statistics Netherlands, the percentage of industrial entrepreneurs who felt they had too much stock fell from 13% in October 2001 to 9% in January 2002 and increasing against 10% in February In 2000 the number of entrepreneurs who felt their stocks were too large averaged less than 7%.
Metal industry has largest drop in production
In February production fell most in the metal industry, where production was more than 10% down on last yearâ€™s level. This branch produces about a third of the total industrial production. In recent months production has been falling in virtually all branches of industry. In January and February there was at least one branch that showed higher production again for the first time. The oil, chemical and rubber industry produced over 3% more during the first two months of 2002 than in had the year before. This branch has an almost 20% share in the total industrial production.
(source: Statistics Netherlands)