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