Belgium: Economy grows modestly in Q2
August 31, 2017
A second estimate released by the Bank of Belgium (NBB) on 31 August confirmed that the economy expanded at a pace of 0.4% in quarter-on-quarter terms in Q2, down from Q1’s more robust 0.6% expansion. The moderation was caused by a slowdown in the external sector.
On the domestic side of the economy, demand experienced a turnaround after declining in Q1. Fixed investment performed well in Q2, rebounding from a contraction in Q1 (Q2: +2.4% quarter-on quarter; Q1: -0.7% qoq). Business investment expanded robustly, helped by good credit conditions and strong external demand. Supported by falling inflation, private consumption continued its pace of 0.5% growth in quarterly terms. Government expenditure improved slightly from minus 0.3% in Q1 to minus 0.1% in Q2.
The external sector, however, slowed in Q2. In quarterly terms, export growth accelerated from 0.7% in Q1 to 1.1% in Q2. However, imports grew more quickly to outpace exports (Q2: +1.3% qoq; Q1: -0.2% qoq). As a result, the net contribution to growth was negative at minus 0.2 percentage points (Q1: +0.8 percentage points).
On an annual basis, GDP grew 1.5% in Q2, down marginally from Q1’s 1.6%.
Author: Lindsey Ice, Economist