Belgium: Revised data shows rise in GDP in Q2
September 6, 2013
In the second quarter, GDP increased 0.2% over the previous quarter in seasonally-adjusted terms, according to revised data. The reading was revised up from the 0.1% expansion that had been previously estimated and came in above the flat growth observed in the first quarter. Revised data also showed that GDP recorded zero growth in Q2 compared to the same period last year (previous estimate: -0.1% year-on-year), which marks an improvement over the 0.6% contraction in the first quarter.
The expansion in the second quarter was mainly the result of an improvement in the external sector. Exports of goods and services rebounded from a 0.9% decrease in Q1 to a 1.4% expansion in Q2. Meanwhile, imports expanded 1.2% in Q2, which contrasts the 1.0% decline recorded in Q1. Consequently, the external sector's net contribution to overall economic growth improved from 0.1 percentage points in Q1 to 0.2 percentage points in Q2.
On the domestic front, growth in private consumption eased from 0.3% in Q1 to 0.2% in Q2. Government spending grew 0.1% over the previous quarter (Q1: 0.0% quarter-on-quarter). On a negative note, gross fixed investment contracted 0.3% in the second quarter, albeit at a slower pace than the 1.6% fall observed in Q1.
The National Bank of Belgium (NBB) expects the economy to remain weak throughout this year and projects GDP to record zero growth. For 2014, the Bank expects the economy to expand 1.1%. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists' expectations are in line with the Bank and expect zero economic growth in 2013, which is unchanged over the previous month's Consensus. For 2014, the panel expects economic growth to accelerate to 1.0%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist