According to the latest preliminary figures by Statistics Netherlands the situation in the Dutch manufacturing industry improved somewhat in January 2004. For the first time in fifteen months production was above last year’s level. When the calendar effects are taken into account, turnover was also higher than the year before.
The Dutch manufacturing industry produced 1 percent more in January this year than it did in January 2003. Production had been consistently lower than in the previous year ever since October 2002. Dutch industrial production focuses on exports, and is a key indicator of developments in the Dutch economy as a whole.
A major pillar of the production increase is the metal industry. It produced more than in the previous year again for the first time since June 2001. Production in the oil, chemicals and rubber industry was also higher than in January 2003. Metal and chemicals make up about half of the total value added of Dutch industry.
Less turnover due to one less working day
In January 2004 Dutch industry produced 2 percent less than in January 2003. This is because January this year had one working day less than last year. Statistics Netherlands estimates the negative effect of this at 4 percent. Turnover in the domestic market was down by 4 percent, while industrial exports were about the same as in January last year.
The largest drop in turnover was observed in the food, beverages and tobacco industry, and in the metal industry. There were also branches in which turnover actually increased, such as the paper and printing industry. The oil, chemicals and rubber industry hardly had any more turnover than in January 2003.
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