Belgium: Revised Q4 data confirm improvement in GDP
March 5, 2014
In the fourth quarter, GDP expanded a seasonally-adjusted 0.5% over the previous quarter according to revised data published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). The reading matched the previous flash estimate and marked an improvement compared to the 0.3% increase tallied in Q3. Revised data also showed that GDP accelerated from a 0.4% increase in Q3 to a 1.0% expansion in Q4. Q4's result reflected an improvement in domestic demand. Total consumption grew 0.4% over the previous quarter (Q3: +0.3% quarter-on-quarter) and was mainly supported by private consumption (Q4: +0.6% qoq; Q3: +0.5% qoq), while growth in government spending remained flat in Q4 (Q3: +0.0% qoq). In addition, gross fixed investment increased 0.8% in Q4, which was up from the 0.5% expansion tallied in Q3. On the external side of the economy, exports of goods and services decreased 0.4% in Q4 (Q3: +1.4% qoq) and imports contracted 0.6% over the previous three-month period (Q3: +1.0 qoq). Consequently, the external sector's net contribution to overall economic growth fell from a 0.4 percentage-point contribution in Q3 to a 0.1 percentage-point contribution in Q4. The Federal Planning Bureau expects economic growth to rise to 1.1% in 2014. The NBB also projects growth of 1.1% for 2014. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the economy to expand 1.2% in 2014, which is unchanged over the previous month's Consensus. For 2015, the panel expects economic growth to pick up to 1.4%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist