Belgium: GDP surprisingly increases in first quarter
May 3, 2013
In the first quarter, GDP expanded a seasonally adjusted 0.1% over the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate released by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) on 3 May. The reading contrasted the 0.1% drop observed in the final quarter of 2012 and overshot market expectations that had seen GDP growth remaining flat. In addition, together with the flash estimate the Bank also revised GDP figures for 2012. According to the NBB, the economy contracted 0.3% in 2012, a notch below the previously reported 0.2% decline.
Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP declined 0.5% in the first three-month period, which followed a contraction of the same magnitude in the fourth quarter. Detailed and more complete data will be published on 5 June.
The NBB expects the economy to remain weak throughout this year and project GDP to record zero growth. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists are slightly more optimistic than the Bank and expect GDP to grow 0.1% in 2013, which is unchanged over the previous month's Consensus. For 2014, the panel expects economic growth to accelerate to 1.2%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist