Belgium: Leading indicators send mix signals
June 24, 2013
The business confidence indicator published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) edged down to minus 12.8 points in June from minus 12.4 points in May. The monthly drop follows two consecutive improvements and contrasted market expectations, which had the indicator rising to minus 11.9 points. According to the Central Bank, the monthly decline reflects less upbeat sentiment in the manufacturing sector, in business related services and in construction. In contrast, business confidence in the trade sector improved notably over the previous month.
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%.
On the other hand, consumer confidence picked up in June, with the Central Bank's consumer confidence indicator improving to minus 18 points from minus 19 points in May. The June print marks the highest level since February and, according to the Central Bank, consumers revealed a less pessimistic assessment about the economic outlook, as well as a less negative opinion about future job prospects. In contrast, respondents' assessment about their financial situation for the next 12 months deteriorated 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