Belgium: Consumer confidence rises sharply in March, business confidence moves close to neutral level
The consumer confidence indicator produced by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) came in at minus 4.0 in March, up from February’s minus 9.0. March’s result marked the strongest reading since February 2020. The improvement came on the back of much better expectations for employment and the economic situation in the next twelve months. Notably, the latter registered the first positive result since May 2018. In addition, households expected to save more ahead.
NBB’s business confidence indicator rose to minus 1.0 in March, from February’s minus 4.4. March’s print logged the best reading since March 2019. The uptick was broad-based, as all industries saw their expectations improve. In detail, pessimism among manufacturing and trade businesses eased significantly. Meanwhile, construction and business-related services firms turned optimistic.