Belgium: Economic growth stabilizes at solid pace in Q2
August 31, 2015
In the second quarter of 2015, GDP increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.4% over the previous quarter, according to more complete data released by the National Bank of Belgium on 31 August. Q2’s result represented the fastest pace of growth in over four years. In addition, the reading matched the print reported in the preliminary release and mirrored Q1’s growth rate. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP grew 1.3% in Q2, which met the preliminary estimate (Q1: +1.0% year-on-year).
Q2’s reading mainly reflects that an improvement in the external sector was partly offset by a significant deterioration in fixed investment and slower consumption growth. Private consumption grew 0.5% over the previous quarter, which was down from the 0.7% expansion tallied in Q1. Government spending dropped 0.1% in Q2, matching Q1’s result. Fixed investment contracted 9.6%, which represented the largest decline on record and contrasted Q1’s 10.0% expansion.
On the external side, exports of goods and services rose 3.3% in Q2, which came in notably above the 0.7% increase recorded in Q1. Meanwhile, imports expanded a weak 0.5% (Q1: +3.6% quarter-on-quarter). Consequently, the net contribution from the external sector to overall economic growth swung from minus 2.4 percentage points in the first quarter to plus 2.5 percentage points in the second quarter.