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Belgium Consumer Confidence March 2022

Belgium: Consumer confidence collapses in March amid war in Ukraine

The consumer confidence indicator produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) came in at minus 16.0 in February, tumbling from February’s plus 2.0 result and registered the steepest drop since current records began. As such, March´s result swung into negative territory and significantly below the 0-threshold that separates optimism from pessimism among consumers.

The decline was broad-based, with most components deteriorating from the previous month due to the breakout of war in Ukraine and historic levels of inflation. Households’ views on the economic situation in the country for the next 12 months collapsed to its joint-lowest level ever in March, while views on their future financial situation similarly collapsed. Moreover, households’ intentions to save fell significantly, mainly amid concerns around rising inflation. That said, their expectations of unemployment in the country improved somewhat over the previous month.

Commenting on the release, Phillipe Ledent, senior economist at ING, remarked:

“Confidence is known to be a key determinant of household consumption. The war in Ukraine has certainly amplified the fall in confidence. And given the psychological shock and the sharp rise in energy prices (particularly high for Belgian consumers), real household consumption will be severely weakened for several months.”

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