Belgium GDP


Belgium: GDP accelerates at fastest pace in three years

June 4, 2014

In the first quarter, GDP increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.4% over the previous quarter according to more complete data released by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) on 4 June. The reading matched the increase reported in the flash estimate and marked an improvement compared to the 0.3% expansion registered in the fourth quarter. The reading represented the fastest pace of growth since Q1 2011. In year-on-year terms, GDP increased 1.2% in Q1, which was faster than the 0.8% expansion registered in Q4.

Q1’s improvement reflected stronger growth in domestic demand. Private consumption picked up slightly in the first quarter, growing 0.4% (Q4: +0.3% quarter-on-quarter). Government spending increased 0.1% in Q1, up from the flat reading tallied in Q4. In addition, gross fixed investment expanded a robust 1.9% in Q1, which was more than double the 0.8% growth rate tallied in Q4.

On the external side of the economy, exports of goods and services contracted 1.5% in Q1, which followed the 0.3% decrease registered in Q4. Imports fell 1.3% in the first quarter, which came in below the 0.4% contraction tallied in the fourth quarter. Consequently, the net contribution from the external sector swung from a 0.1 percentage-point contribution in Q4 to 0.2 percentage-point detraction in Q1.

The Federal Planning Bureau expects economic growth to rise to 1.1% in 2014. The National Bank of Belgium also projects growth of 1.1% for 2014. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the economy to expand 1.3% in 2014, which is unchanged over the previous month’s Consensus. For 2015, the panel expects economic growth to pick up to 1.5%.

Author:, Senior Economist

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Belgium GDP Chart

Belgium GDP Q1 2014

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

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