Belgium: Economy gains ground in first quarter
April 29, 2011
In the first quarter, GDP expanded 1.0% over the previous quarter in seasonally and calendar adjusted terms, according to a preliminary estimate released by the National Bank of Belgium on 29 April. The quarterly expansion doubled the 0.5% increase observed in the final quarter of 2010, and represented the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2010. Detailed and more complete data will be published on 8 June. Compared to the same period the year before, GDP expanded 3.0% in the first quarter, faster than the 2.0% expansion tallied in the fourth quarter and above last month's Consensus Forecast, which had seen GDP growing 2.1%. The increase marked the fastest expansion since the second quarter of 2007. Meanwhile, the Central Bank revised its December economic growth forecast and now anticipates that the economy will grow 2.0% this year, up from its previous 1.8% estimate. The new forecast is in line with the Federal Planning Bureau's projections that also have economic activity growing 2.0% this year.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist