Belgium: Leading indicators suggest that the economy slowed in third quarter
September 23, 2011
The economy is likely to report slower growth in the third quarter as business confidence deteriorated sharply in September, while consumer confidence remained unchanged at a 12-month low. According to the monthly business and consumer surveys published by National Bank of Belgium, business confidence fell from minus 7.8 points in August to minus 9.4 points in September. The reading represented the fifth consecutive month of falling sentiment, dropping to its lowest level in two years. The September survey showed that business climate deteriorated across all sectors surveyed except construction. According to the Bank, the deterioration mainly reflects a less optimistic assessment of business prospects. Simultaneously, the consumer confidence indicator remained unchanged in September at minus 9 points, which represents the lowest level since June 2010. According to the September survey, consumers assessed the general economic situation for the next 12 months more negatively compared to the previous month. In addition, the September result showed consumers' increasing fears of rising unemployment.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist