Belgium: Second quarter GDP growth revised downwards
September 30, 2011
n the second quarter, GDP rose 0.5% over the previous quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, according to revised data published by the National Bank of Belgium on 30 September. The print was revised down from the 0.7% expansion previously estimated on 29 July and represented a deceleration compared to the 0.9% increase recorded in the first quarter. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP grew 2.3% in the second quarter, slower than the 2.9% expansion observed in the first quarter. The quarterly outturn reflected a deterioration of the external sector, while domestic demand improved. Private consumption increased 0.2% over the previous quarter, which contrasted a flat figure in the first quarter. In addition, gross fixed investment accelerated from a 1.4% increase in the first quarter to a 2.9% expansion in the second. In contrast, an anaemic external sector saw exports of goods and services contract 0.8% in the second quarter (Q1: +2.7% quarter-on-quarter). Imports followed suit and dropped 0.7% in Q2, well below the 2.1% increase observed in the first three-month period. As a result, the net contribution from the external sector to overall economic growth swung from a 0.6 percentage-point contribution in the first quarter to a 0.1 percentage point detraction in the second quarter. At the sector level, the second quarter deceleration was broad based. Agriculture remained flat over the previous quarter and industry as well as services decelerated over the previous quarter. The Central Bank expects the economy to grow 2.6% this year, before slowing to 2.2% in 2012.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist