Belgium: GDP declines in second quarter
September 7, 2012
In the second quarter, GDP fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5% over the previous period, according to revised data published by the National Bank of Belgium on 7 September. The reading was revised from the 0.6% drop reported in the 1 August flash estimate and contrasted the 0.2% increase recorded in the first quarter. Compared to the same period last year, GDP declined 0.3% in Q2 (previously reported: -0.4% year-on-year), which contrasted the 0.4% expansion observed in Q1. The annual reading marked the first decline in economic activity recorded since the third quarter of 2009. The quarterly contraction was primarily the result of a deterioration in domestic demand, with private consumption declining 0.4% over the previous period (Q1: -0.1% quarter-on-quarter) and government spending dropping 0.2% in Q2 (Q1: 0.0% qoq). In addition, gross fixed investment fell 0.6% in the second quarter, which contrasted an expansion of the same magnitude in the first. On the other hand, the contribution from the external sector to overall growth improved somewhat, as exports of good and services deteriorated less than imports. Exports declined 0.4% in the second quarter, contrasting the 0.7% increase seen in the first quarter, while imports dropped 0.9% in Q2, contrasting the 0.3% expansion observed in Q1. As a result, the external sector's net contribution improved from 0.3 percentage points in the first quarter to 0.4 percentage points in the second. The Federal Planning Bureau expects the economy to expand 0.1% this year, while the Central Banks predicts economic growth of 0.6%.