Belgium GDP Q3 2019


Belgium: Second release confirms Q3 acceleration

November 29, 2019

A second national accounts estimate released by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) on 29 November confirmed economic activity accelerated in the third quarter. GDP growth came in at 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in seasonally-adjusted terms, up from the 0.3% qoq s.a. expansion recorded in the second quarter. The print also overshot analysts’ expectations and marked the quickest expansion this year. On an annual basis, growth quickened to 1.6% from 1.3% in the second quarter.

Although domestic activity eased in Q3, it surpassed expectations thanks to surprisingly resilient private consumption, which expanded at the fastest pace in three years (Q3: +0.6% quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted; Q2: +0.4% qoq s.a.). Conversely, government spending eased in Q3 (Q3: +0.5% qoq s.a.; Q2: +0.7% qoq s.a.), while fixed investment almost stagnated after markedly accelerating in the previous quarter (Q3: +0.3% qoq s.a.; Q2: +1.5% qoq s.a.).

Meanwhile, despite the wider European pullback in Q3, the external sector weighed less on the overall expansion than in Q2. Although exports contracted 0.9% qoq s.a., (Q2: +0.4% qoq s.a.), a parallel fall in imports (Q3: -0.8% qoq s.a.; Q2: +0.7% qoq s.a.) cushioned the downturn somewhat. Taken together, the external sector subtracted 0.1 percentage points from growth, less than the 0.3 percentage points subtracted in Q2.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the economy to grow at 1.0% in 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and at 1.3% in 2021.

Author:, Economist

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Belgium GDP Chart

Belgium GDP Q3  2019

Note: Quarter-on-quarter changes of seasonally-adjusted GDP in %.
Source: National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast.

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