Belgium GDP


Belgium: Economic growth rises slightly in Q1

June 1, 2015

In the first quarter of 2015, GDP increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% over the previous quarter, according to more complete data released by the National Bank of Belgium on 1 June. Q1’s result matched the 0.3% rise reported in the preliminary release and marked an improvement from the 0.2% expansion tallied in Q4 2014. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP grew 1.0% in Q1, which was above the 0.9% increase reported in the preliminary release (Q4: +1.0% year-on-year).

The result came on the back of strengthening domestic demand, while the external sector deteriorated. Private consumption grew 0.7% over the previous quarter, which was up from the 0.5% expansion tallied in Q4. Fixed investment contracted 0.6%, which was a notable improvement from the 5.4% decrease in Q4. Conversely, government spending swung from a 0.4% expansion in Q4 to a 0.1% contraction in Q1.

On the external side, exports of goods and services rose 0.5% in Q1, which significantly contrasted the 2.8% contraction recorded in Q4. Meanwhile, imports expanded 0.3% (Q4: -4.1% quarter-on-quarter). Consequently, the net contribution from the external sector to overall economic growth deteriorated from plus 1.2 percentage points in the fourth quarter to plus 0.2 percentage points in the first quarter.

The Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) expects the economy to grow 1.5% in 2015. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the economy to expand 1.3% in 2015, which is up 0.1 percentage points over the previous month’s Consensus. For 2016, the panel expects economic growth to pick up to 1.6%.

Author: Angela Bouzanis, Senior Economist

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Belgium GDP Chart

Belgium GDP Q1 2015 0

Note: Quarter-on-quarter changes of seasonally-adjusted GDP in %.
Source: National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast.

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