Belgium: Growth slips in Q1
Belgium’s economy grew a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter (previously reported: +0.2% quarter-on-quarter s.a.; Q4 2018: +0.4% qoq s.a.), according to a comprehensive estimate released by the National Bank of Belgium on 29 May. Analysts had expected a more noticeable slowdown.
Fixed investment cooled markedly (Q1: +0.4% qoq s.a.; Q4 2018: +3.4% qoq s.a.) amid sharply weaker gains in the business and housing categories. Household spending, meanwhile, picked up (Q1: +0.3% qoq s.a.; Q4 2018: +0.0% qoq s.a.) despite deteriorating economic sentiment and an uptick in the unemployment rate, as did government spending (Q1: +0.2% qoq s.a.; Q4 2018: +0.1% qoq s.a.).
Export growth slowed to a crawl (Q1: +0.3% qoq s.a.; Q4 2018: +1.1% qoq s.a.) as demand ebbed across much of the Eurozone. Imports, meanwhile, grew negligibly (Q1: -0.1% qoq s.a.; Q4 2018: +1.8% qoq s.a.). All told, net exports added 0.4 percentage points to growth in the first quarter (Q4 2018: subtracted 0.5 percentage points).