Belgium: Businesses and consumers less confident in April
April 25, 2014
The National Bank of Belgium's (NBB) business confidence indicator inched down to minus 4.6 points in April, marking a slight deterioration over the minus 4.4 points registered in March. April's reading, which was the second drop in a row, was still better than the minus 4.8 points the market had expected. According to the NBB, businesses in the services, construction and trade sectors were less optimistic than in the previous month. Manufacturing was the only sector in which confidence improved over the previous month.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect fixed investment to expand 1.5% in 2014, which is up 0.2 percentage points over last month's projection. For 2015, the panel sees fixed investment growing 1.9%.
The consumer confidence indicator fell from minus 8.0 points in March to minus 9.0 points in April. The reading represented the second fall in consumer sentiment following the nearly uninterrupted upward trend that began in April 2013. According to the NBB, fall in sentiment was largely due to consumers' worse assessment of the country's economic outlook. In addition, households' expectations regarding their financial situations fell in April whereas their assessment of the employment situation was unchanged over the previous month.
Panelists expect private consumption to grow 1.2% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's projection. Next year, the panel expects that private consumption will grow also 1.2%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist