Belgium: Economy recovers in Q3, but is likely to face headwinds in Q4
The economy rebounded in the third quarter, growing 10.7% on a seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis, after falling 11.8% in Q2 at the height of the pandemic. On an annual basis, economic activity was down 5.2% in Q3, softening from Q2’s 13.9% decrease. The uptick followed the lifting of restrictions, which boosted activity.
Although a breakdown of expenditure components is not yet available, a first estimate shows improvements across all sectors of production: Industry grew by 12.0%, construction by 18.0% and services by 9.9%.
Despite the rebound, the recovery may well be short-lived as a new wave of Covid-19 cases led to the imposition of a fresh lockdown on 2 November. On the outlook, Philippe Ledent, senior economist at ING, commented:“The Belgian economy is now facing a new (very strong) wave of the pandemic [and as a result] will suffer another negative shock in the fourth quarter. Thereafter, depending on the evolution of the pandemic, it could return to growth in the first quarter of next year. However, we will have to wait for the arrival and wide diffusion of a vaccine to see the situation really improve.”