Belgium: Forward-looking indicators suggest weak growth
April 24, 2012
In April, the National Bank of Belgium's business confidence indicator fell to minus 10.7 points from minus 9.6 points in March, which represents the lowest level since November 2011. The reading defied market expectations, which had estimated the index to improve to minus 9.1 points. The April survey showed that confidence weakened in almost all sub-categories, especially in manufacturing. However, after two consecutive declines, business sentiment improved in the construction sector. At the same time, the Bank's April consumer confidence indicator remained steady at March's minus 12 points. According to the Bank, consumers' prospects about the overall economic situation improved marginally over the previous month, while their expectations about a rise in unemployment deteriorated.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist