Belgium city from above

Belgium GDP Q1 2022

Belgium: GDP growth gathers momentum in the first quarter

GDP growth sped up to 0.5% on a seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in the first quarter, from 0.4% in the fourth quarter of last year. The Q1 figure was above the preliminary figures.

Private consumption bounced back, growing 0.5% seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter in Q1 compared to a 0.8% contraction in Q4. Public spending, meanwhile, dropped 2.5% (Q4 2021: +0.2% s.a. qoq). Fixed investment bounced back, growing 1.0% in Q1, contrasting the 2.2% contraction in the prior quarter.

Exports of goods and services contracted 0.9% in Q1, marking the worst result since Q2 2020 (Q4 2021: +1.8% s.a. qoq). In addition, imports of goods and services deteriorated, contracting 1.1% in Q1 (Q4 2021: +1.6% s.a. qoq). On an annual basis, economic growth waned markedly to 4.9% in Q1, following the previous period’s 5.7% growth.

Activity should lose steam in the coming quarters. Soaring inflation due to the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war, coupled with weaker sentiment among households, bodes poorly for domestic demand. Meanwhile, supply chain disruptions threaten the external sector. More positively, the removal of all Covid-19 restrictions should support activity this year.

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