Belgium: Businesses and consumer confidence improve notably in September
September 24, 2013
The National Bank of Belgium's (NBB) business confidence indicator climbed to minus 6.7 points in September (August: -8.6 points), the highest level since July 2011. The result overshot market expectations of an increase to minus 7.7 points. According to the NBB, the monthly improvement was broad-based and reflects more optimistic sentiment in most sub-sectors of the economy, particularly in business-related services and in trade.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect fixed investment to decline 1.7% in 2013, which is down 0.7 percentage points from last month's projection. For 2014, the panel sees fixed investment expanding 1.4%.
Consumer sentiment also improved markedly in September. The NBB's consumer confidence indicator rose to minus 7 points, well above the minus 12 points recorded in August. The increase represents the highest level since October 2011 and, according to the Bank, consumers have a more optimistic view on both the general economic outlook and their future financial situations. Conversely, households are less optimistic about future job prospects compared to the previous month.
Panelists expect private consumption to grow 0.1% in 2013, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. Next year, the panel expects that private consumption will grow 0.7%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist