Slowdown in industrial production tapering off

Dutch industrial production in the first quarter of 2002 was down 3.2% on the first quarter van 2001. This means production decreased by less than in the fourth quarter of 2001 when production was down 6.1% on the year before.

When the figure is adjusted for seasonal influences, production in the first quarter of 2002 was up slightly on the fourth quarter of last year. In the first quarter the decrease in production was greatest in the metal industry, according to the latest preliminary figures by Statistics Netherlands.

Production down most in metal industry
In the first quarter of 2002 production fell most sharply in the metal industry. Production was down by over 9% on the year before. The metal industry produces about a third of the total industrial production. The textile, clothing and leather industries also saw a sharp decline in production, which was down by over 5%. In the paper and printing industry and in the wood, building materials furniture and other industry the decreases are limited. The only industries in which production in the first quarter was clearly higher than a year ago were the oil, chemicals and rubber industries: up 3.4%. The share of this branch in total production is about 20%. The food, beverages and tobacco industries produced about the same as a year ago (+0.1%).

Production in March down 2.0% on a year ago
The drop in production in March was smaller than it had been in January and February. Production in the first months of 2002 is in line with the recovery of producer confidence in the manufacturing industry. Confidence has been gradually improving since December. In March 2002 the industrial entrepreneurs received more orders than in the previous month for the first time. For the period April-June the entrepreneurs expect a rise in production.

(source: Statistics Netherlands)

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