Belgium: Business confidence at highest level in over two years; consumer sentiment stabilizes
November 22, 2013
The National Bank of Belgium's (NBB) business confidence indicator rose from minus 7.7 points in October to minus 4.3 points in November. The increase marked the highest level since July 2011 and overshot market expectations of a rise to minus 7.0 points. According to the NBB, the improvement reflects less pessimistic sentiment in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Business confidence weakened in business-related services, while it stabilized in trade.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect fixed investment to decline 2.4% in 2013, which is unchanged from last month's projection. For 2014, the panel sees fixed investment expanding 1.1%, which is up 0.2 percentage points over the previous month's forecast.
Consumer sentiment stabilized in November. The NBB's consumer confidence indicator remained at the previous month's level of minus 6 points, which followed seven consecutive months of increase. According to the Bank, consumers have a more optimistic view of the general economic outlook and of their job prospects. Conversely, households were slightly less optimistic regarding their future financial situations and capacity to save than they were in the previous month.
Panelists expect private consumption to grow 0.4% in 2013, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. Next year, the panel expects that private consumption will grow 0.8%, which is also up 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection.