In the first quarter, GDP increased a seasonally and calendar-adjusted 0.3% over the previous quarter, according to revised data published by the National Bank of Belgium on 6 June. The reading confirmed the 2 May flash estimate and contrasted the 0.1% decline recorded in the fourth quarter. In annual terms, GDP grew 0.5% in the first quarter, weaker than the 1.2% expansion registered in the final quarter of 2011. The quarterly expansion reflected an improvement of the external sector over the previous quarter, with exports of goods and services expanding 0.6% in the first quarter (Q4 2011: -1.5% quarter-on-quarter) and imports growing 0.2% (Q4: -1.8% qoq). As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall growth improved from a 0.2 percentage-point contribution in the fourth quarter to a 0.4 percentage-point contribution in the first quarter. Meanwhile, growth in private consumption was flat over the previous quarter (Q4: +0.2 qoq), while government spending grew 0.2% in Q1, which contrasted the flat reading in Q4. Gross fixed investment expanded 0.5% in the January-March period, rebounding from the 1.5% drop recorded in the final quarter of 2011. The National Bank of Belgium revised its growth forecast for this year and now expects GDP to expand 0.6%, which contrasted its previous projection of a 0.1% contraction. For 2013, the Bank predicts that economic growth will accelerate to 1.4%. The Central Bank stated that economic growth will be boosted by strong growth in exports, given the strong trade links with Germany.
Economic activity rises in first quarter
June 6, 2012
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Note: Quarter-on-quarter changes of seasonally adjusted GDP and year-on-year variation in %.
Source: National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast.
Belgium Economic News
October 21, 2016
The business confidence index produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) rose from minus 2.2 points in September to minus 1.8 points in October.
Belgium: Business confidence recovers timidly but consumer confidence deteriorates further in September
September 23, 2016
The business confidence index produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) rose from minus 3.1 points in August to minus 2.2 points in September.
September 23, 2016
In July, industrial production increased a seasonally-adjusted 1.9% over the previous month, which was above the 1.2% registered in June and represented a 6-months high.
August 31, 2016
In the second quarter of 2016, GDP increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.5% over the previous quarter, according to comprehensive data released by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) on 31 August.
August 25, 2016
In June, industrial production increased a seasonally-adjusted 2.0% over the previous month, which contrasted the 0.4% contraction in May.