Belgium Economic Sentiment March 2018

Belgium

Belgium: Business confidence plunges in March, while consumer confidence improves

March 23, 2018

The consumer confidence indicator produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) increased from 1.0 point in February to 3.0 points in March. Improved consumer confidence was driven by a more optimistic view in all the macroeconomic and financial components of the index. Unemployment fears diminished notably, and households’ view of their personal financial situations was more favorable.

The NBB’s business confidence survey plummeted from 1.9 points in February to 0.1 points March. March’s sharp decline reflected a broad-based deterioration in all economic sectors surveyed except for trade. Business-related services edged down due to a perceived drop in market demand, while manufacturers became more pessimistic, with employment expectations and their view on order books both worsening. Trade, on the other hand, improved on higher demand prospects and increased orders from supplies.

FocusEconomics panelists expect private consumption to expand 1.5% in 2018, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s estimate. They project growth of 1.4% in 2019. Panelists expect fixed investment to expand 2.9% in 2018, which is also up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s projection. For 2019, the panel sees fixed investment growing 2.3%.


Author: Jean-Philippe Pourcelot, Economist

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Belgium Economic Sentiment March 2018

Note: Business and Consumer Confidence Indicators.
Source: National Bank of Belgium (NBB).


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