Belgium: Revised Q3 data confirms improvement in GDP
December 6, 2013
In the third quarter, GDP increased 0.3% over the previous quarter in seasonally-adjusted terms, according to revised data published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). The reading was in line with the previous estimate and came in above the 0.2% increase observed in the second quarter. Revised data also showed that GDP accelerated from a 0.1% increase in Q2 over the same quarter last year to a 0.4% expansion in Q3, which represents the fastest pace since Q4 2011.
The improvement in the third quarter was broad-based. Private consumption grew 0.5% over the previous quarter (Q2: +0.3% quarter-on-quarter), while government consumption showed zero growth for a third consecutive period. Meanwhile, gross fixed investment expanded 0.5%, which was well above the flat reading recorded in Q2. On the external front, exports of goods and services accelerated from a 1.3% increase in Q2 to a 2.1% expansion in Q3. Moreover, imports grew 1.8% over the previous period, faster than the 0.9% expansion registered in Q2. The external sector's net contribution to overall economic growth remained stable at Q2's 0.3 percentage points.
The Federal Planning Bureau expects economic growth to rise 0.1% this year, before picking up to 1.1% in 2014. The NBB revised its growth expectations and now sees the economy increasing 0.2% in 2013. The Bank maintained its forecasts for 2014 at 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%, which is unchanged over the previous month's projection.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist