April 14, 2003

In focus: the chemical and plastics industry in the Netherlands 2002-2004

Dutch manufacturing in general experienced a severe setback in 2002. However, both the chemical and plastics industry had less trouble in keeping up sales volume growth.

But cash flow dropped due to fierce price competition and high labour costs. The prospects of 2003 are more insecure than usual because of international political tensions. Still, the sales volume of chemical products may grow this year by 2¾%, the sales volume of plastic and rubber products may increase by 1½%. The start up of new and large scale plants lead to strong capacity expansions in the Dutch chemical industry. The cash flow of the chemical and plastics industry will probably bottom out. Next year, sales and cash flow may pick up as the recovery of foreign demand becomes stronger. Employment reductions and wage restraints may help to strengthen the Dutch competitive position.


Harold Creusen