Belgium: Forward-looking indicators paint mixed picture
January 24, 2012
In January, business confidence rose to minus 9.5 points from minus 10.6 points in December, according to the Central Bank's monthly business survey. The reading represents the second consecutive improvement and overshot market expectations that had business confidence rising slightly less to minus 10.1 points. The January survey revealed that business sentiment improved across all the main sub-categories, especially in the business-related services category. Only the trade sector saw business sentiment deteriorate compared to the previous month. At the same time, however, the Bank's January consumer confidence indicator nosedived to minus 16 points, more than reversing the gain observed in December, when the index improved to minus 12 points. The January result marks the lowest level seen since July 2009. According to the Bank, consumers expressed a more gloomy assessment about economic prospects for the next 12 months, as well as a more negative view of their own financial situation. In addition, respondents to the January survey signalled growing fears about job prospects.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist