Belgium: Consumer and business confidence retreat in May
The consumer confidence indicator produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) dipped from 2.0 points in April to 0.0 points in May, the lowest reading in nearly a year. The decline in confidence was driven largely by a more pessimistic view of the country’s macroeconomic outlook, which was also reflected in consumers’ gloomier assessment of the labor market. Meanwhile, households’ view of their financial situations was unchanged, while their intentions to save decreased.
Moreover, the NBB’s business confidence survey dropped from 1.0 point in April to 0.2 points in May. May’s deterioration was driven by a less optimistic outlook in the business-related service industries, which more than offset an improvement in sentiment in the trade and building industries. Business-related services noted more downbeat expectations towards both activity and market demand. Confidence in the trade industries rose, however, on growing optimism towards the sector’s employment and demand expectations. Meanwhile, confidence in the building industries improved due to growing volumes of new orders. Furthermore, the outlook in the manufacturing sector was stable in May.