Belgium: Economic growth eases slightly in Q4 2014
March 2, 2015
In the fourth quarter of last year, GDP increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.2% over the previous quarter, according to more complete data released by the National Bank of Belgium on 2 March. Q4’s result was slightly higher than the 0.1% rise reported in the preliminary release, but it marked a deterioration from the 0.3% expansion tallied in Q3. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP grew 1.0% in Q4 (Q3: +1.0% year-on-year).
The result came on the back of weakening domestic demand, while the external sector improved. Private consumption grew 0.5% over the previous quarter, which was down from the 0.7% expansion in Q3. Fixed investment contracted 5.5%, which was a notable contrast to the 6.9% rise in Q3. Conversely, government spending improved from a 0.4% contraction in Q3 to a 1.5% expansion in Q4.
On the external side, exports of goods and services contracted 2.3% in Q4, deteriorating significantly from the 1.4% increase tallied in Q3. Meanwhile, imports contracted 3.3% (Q3: +3.5% quarter-on-quarter). Consequently, the net contribution from the external sector to overall economic growth improved from minus 1.7 percentage points in the third quarter to plus 0.9 percentage points in the fourth quarter.
For the full year 2014, GDP expanded 1.0%. The expansion represented an improvement over 2013’s 0.3% increase.
Author: Cecilia Simkievich, Economist