Manufacturers expect investments to fall by 12 percent in 2004 compared to last year. If their expectations turn out to be correct, the lowest level in ten years will be reached. In the spring of 2004 manufacturers still expected investments to increase by 2 percent.
Dutch manufacturing companies expect to invest 2 percent more this year than in 2003. The increase in investment in 2004 is dampened by companies in the chemical industry, which expect to spend 37 percent less on fixed capital formation than last year. Other branches of manufacturing expect to invest 14 to 31 percent more.
In 2003 close to 8,750 bankruptcies were pronounced. This is the highest number of bankruptcies ever recorded. The previous record of 1982 was 100 less.