Belgium: Leading indicators recover some lost ground
April 24, 2013
The business confidence indicator published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) rose to minus 14.7 points in April from minus 15.0 points in March, a figure that had represented the lowest level in more than three years. The reading was in line with market expectations. According to the Bank, the slight improvement tallied in April was the result of rising business sentiment in the manufacturing sector. On the other hand, the sharpest fall was registered in trade.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect fixed investment to decline 0.2% in 2013, which is down 0.4 percentage points from last month's projection. For 2014, the panel sees fixed investment expanding 2.0%.
Simultaneously, the NBB's April consumer confidence index rose to minus 20 points from minus 24 points in March. According to the NBB, "the increase in consumer confidence is mainly due to a less pessimistic outlook with regard to macroeconomic developments". Accordingly, consumers' view of the general economic situation for the next 12 months as well as their view on the labour market in the year ahead improved over the previous month.
Panellists expect private consumption to grow 0.2% in 2013, which is unchanged from last month's projection. Next year, the panel anticipates that private consumption will grow 1.0%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist