Belgium: Businesses and consumers less pessimistic in August
August 23, 2013
The National Bank of Belgium's (NBB) business confidence indicator rose to minus 8.6 points in August (July: -12.0 points). The result was better than market expectations of an increase to minus 11.3 points. The reading represents the highest confidence level in 18 months. According to the NBB, the monthly increase was broad-based and reflects more optimistic sentiment in all sub-sectors of the economy, particularly in manufacturing and in business-related services.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect fixed investment to decline 1.7% in 2013, which is down 0.7 percentage points from last month's projection. For 2014, the panel sees fixed investment expanding 1.4%.
Consumer sentiment also improved in August. The Central Bank's consumer confidence indicator rose to minus 12 points, up from minus 16 points in July. The reading marks the highest level since June 2012. According to the Bank, consumers have a more optimistic view on both the economic outlook and future job prospects than in the previous month. Moreover, households are less pessimistic about their personal financial situation.
Panellists expect private consumption to grow 0.1% in 2013, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. Next year, the panel expects that private consumption will grow 0.7%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist