Belgium: Forward-looking indicators paint mixed picture in July
July 25, 2012
In July, the business confidence indicator published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) rose to minus 11.3 points from minus 13.2 points in June, marking the first improvement after four consecutive deteriorations. Moreover, the increase defied market expectations, which had expected the index would fall to minus 13.6 points. According to the Bank, the monthly improvement was broad-based, reflecting increased confidence in all subcategories, particularly in trade and business-related services, which according to the Bank, assessed the level of activity more positively, and they are more optimistic about demand forecasts. Meanwhile, the Bank's July consumer confidence indicator dropped to minus 13 points, which was below the minus 10 points recorded in June, and represents the lowest level in five months. According to the NBB, the July survey revealed that consumers are once again showing gloomier expectations of the overall economic situation for the next 12 months and a more pessimistic assessment of their personal financial situation. In addition, respondents were more concerned about an increase in unemployment.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist