January 20, 2017
The business confidence index produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) continued to gain strength in January, rising to 0.5 points from December’s minus 0.2 points. Sentiment among business leaders in the manufacturing, business-related services and building industry sub-sectors improved, thanks to more optimistic forecasts and an expansion in order books. Conversely, economic sentiment in the trade sector fell for the second consecutive month.
Meanwhile, the NBB consumer confidence index also improved substantially, increasing from minus 5.0 points in December to 0.0 points in January, the highest reading since May 2011. The rise was driven by considerable improvements in consumers’ unemployment expectations and their perception of the country’s economic situation.
Author: Oliver Reynolds, Economist