Belgium: Consumer confidence reaches highest level in over two years; business sentiment wanes
October 23, 2013
The National Bank of Belgium's (NBB) business confidence indicator fell from minus 6.7 points in September to minus 7.7 points in October. The result marks the first fall following three consecutive months of increase. In addition, the reading contrasted market expectations of a rise to minus 6.0 points. According to the NBB, the monthly deterioration reflects less optimistic sentiment in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Conversely, business confidence strengthened in business-related services and trade.
Forecasters polled by FocusEconomics expect fixed investment to decline 2.4% in 2013, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. For 2014, participants in the Consensus see fixed investment expanding 0.8%, which is down 0.6 percentage points over the previous month's forecast.
October brought further improvement in consumer sentiment, with the NBB's consumer confidence indicator rising to minus 6 points (September: -7 points). The increase represents the seventh consecutive increase and the highest level since July 2011. According to the Bank, consumers have a more optimistic view on job prospects and their future financial situations. Conversely, households reported slightly less optimism regarding the general economic prospects compared to the previous month.
Panelists expect private consumption to grow 0.3% in 2013, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. Next year, the panel expects that private consumption will grow 0.8%, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist