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Belgium GDP Q4 2023

Belgium: Economic growth moderates in the fourth quarter

GDP growth waned to 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in the fourth quarter, down from a preliminary estimate of 0.4% as well as from 0.4% in the third quarter. On an annual basis, economic growth improved to 1.5% in Q4, from the previous period’s 1.4% growth. Q4’s reading marked the strongest growth since Q1.

Household spending improved to 0.5% seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter, which marked the best reading since Q1 (Q3: +0.4% s.a. qoq). Public spending rose 2.0% in the fourth quarter, rebounding from the third quarter’s 0.1% contraction. Fixed investment contracted 6.5% in Q4, marking the worst result since Q2 2020 (Q3: +1.6% s.a. qoq). On the external front, exports of goods and services recorded zero growth seasonally adjusted quarter on quarter in the fourth quarter, which marked the best reading since Q4 2022 (Q3: -2.0% s.a. qoq). In addition, imports of goods and services declined at a softer pace of 1.2% in Q4 (Q3: -1.9% s.a. qoq), marking the best reading since Q4 2022.

This year, economic growth should decelerate from 2023. A slowdown in fixed investment growth, in part due to a less buoyant construction sector, will be the main culprit. Meanwhile, household spending should expand healthily, supported by rising wages. The evolution of Germany’s economy and commodity prices are factors to watch.

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