UTRECHT, Netherlands, March 1 Dutch lender Rabobank warned on Thursday 2012 will be a difficult year due to weak European government spending and poor financial market confidence.
"The market will continue to struggle in 2012. Consumer and business confidence is not expected to recover in the near future," Rabobank said in a statement.
"It will still be some time before all countries of Europe have their public finances back in good order and confidence has been restored on the financial markets," the bank said.
Cooperatively-owned Rabobank, which lost its triple-A credit rating from agency Standard & Poor's last year, reported a 5 percent fall in its 2011 net profit to 2.6 billion euros. (Reporting by Sara Webb and Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by David Holmes)