Belgium: Business and consumer sentiment improve in January
January 24, 2014
The National Bank of Belgium's (NBB) business confidence indicator rose to minus 5.6 points in January, marking an improvement over the minus 6.4 points registered in December. The increase slightly overshot market expectations of a rise to minus 5.7 points. According to the NBB, the improvement reflects less pessimistic sentiment in manufacturing and trade. Business confidence weakened in business services and in construction.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect fixed investment to expand 1.2% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's projection. For 2015, the panel sees fixed investment growing 1.9%.
The NBB's consumer confidence index edged up in January to minus 4 points (December: -5 points), following on the upward trend in place since February 2013. According to the Bank, the tiny increase mainly reflected consumers' more optimistic view of the general economic situation in the next 12 months. Conversely, households were slightly less optimistic regarding their future financial situations.
Panelists expect private consumption to grow 1.0% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's projection. Next year, the panel expects that private consumption will grow 1.2%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist