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Dutch bankruptcies hit record in February

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AMSTERDAM - More Dutch companies declared bankruptcy in February than at any time since records began in 1981.

The country's Central Bureau for Statistics also says Monday that on a three-month average, bankruptcies are at their highest level on record: around 680 per month, not counting one-person businesses.

The Dutch economy is struggling as the government cuts spending and increases taxes to meet European budget rules that require countries to get their budget deficits down to 3 per cent of their annual gross domestic product.

Real estate markets are especially weak, due to a glut in office space and cuts in residential mortgage deductions.

The country's economic forecasting office expects the Dutch economy to shrink for the second year running in 2013 before muted growth returns in 2014.

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