Belgium: Forward-looking indicators improve slightly in September
September 21, 2012
The September business confidence indicator published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) edged up to minus 11.6 points from minus 11.8 points in August. Despite the improvement, the indicator fell short of market expectations, which had the index rising to minus 11.3 points. The slight improvement was mainly the result of increasing confidence in the construction sector and a notable improvement in business-related services. In contrast, respondents in the manufacturing sector were less optimistic compared to the previous month. Simultaneously, the NBB's September consumer confidence indicator rose to minus 14 points, up from the minus 16 points recorded in August, when the indicator fell to its lowest level in six months. According to the Bank, consumers showed a less gloomy assessment about an increase in unemployment in the year ahead. Moreover, the assessment of consumers' personal financial situation as well as that of the economic situation in the next 12 months remained unchanged compared to the previous month.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist