Belgium: Business confidence drops to 2-year low while consumer confidence improves
October 25, 2011
In October, business confidence fell to minus 10.4 points, according to the monthly business confidence survey published by the National Bank of Belgium. The reading, which represented the seventh consecutive month of falling sentiment, came in below the minus 9.4 points recorded in September and marked the lowest level since October 2009. The October drop showed that firms' assessment of their current business situation deteriorated markedly over the previous month, particularly in business-related services and the construction sector. In contrast, businesses in the manufacturing sector showed a slight improvement over the previous month. Consensus Forecast panellists expect fixed investment to grow 3.2% this year, which is up/down _._ percentage points from last month's estimate. For 2012, the panel sees fixed investment slowing to 2.8%, which is up/down _._ percentage points from last month's projection. Simultaneously, the Bank also published the October consumer survey and it showed that the consumer confidence indicator rose to minus 7 points, slightly up from the minus 9 points tallied in September. According to the Bank, consumers showed a less gloomy assessment about future economic prospects for the next 12 months and a somewhat more positive view of their own financial situation. However, respondents to the October survey signalled increasing concerns about future jobs prospects. Consensus Forecast panellists expect private consumption to grow 1.6% this year, which is up/down _._ percentage points from last month's estimate. For 2012, the panel foresees private consumption growth to moderate to 1.4%, which is up/down _._ percentage points from last month's projection.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist