Preliminary data revealed that quarter-on-quarter economic growth eased to 0.1% in Q4 from 0.2% in Q3, driven by a contraction in industrial output. Service activity remained broadly stable, while construction activity grew at a faster rate. Turning to Q1 2023, sequential growth is likely accelerating. Consumer sentiment improved in January and February, with the latter print marking a 12-month high. This, along with the lowest harmonized inflation rate in over a year in January, bodes well for private consumption in the quarter. Business sentiment also improved slightly from its Q4 2022 trough, likely supporting investment. Moreover, in January, European natural gas prices reached their lowest average level since August 2021. As the Belgian industrial sector is the most gas-intensive in Europe, this should boost industrial output this quarter.
Belgium Merchandise Trade Balance (EUR bn) Data
|Merchandise Trade Balance (EUR bn)||18||11||16||21||18|