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Belgium sees record bankruptcies in July

A record number of 916 Belgian companies went bankrupt last month, largely due to the soaring prices of raw materials and energy and the slowdown in the world economy, Belgian broadcaster VRT reported Thursday.

The figure was 25% up from June of last year. The last record, or 854 bankruptcies, was set in June 2005. Small businesses were the hardest hit. The number of bankruptcies in companies with less than 10 employees rose by more than 50% in June compared to a year earlier. Most bankruptcies were recorded in the retail, transport and hospitality industries, the report said.

Analysts said that price rises, wage hikes and the global economic downturn were the main causes. Small businesses are not always able to pass on the extra costs to their customers. Karel van Eetvelt of the Small Businessmen’s Association UNIZO said the rise in bankruptcies is partly due to the large number of new firms set up last year. He said small companies enjoy low profitability and there could be many more bankruptcies in the fall. (Xinhua)