Belgium: Leading indicators improve in February
February 22, 2013
The February business confidence indicator published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) rose to minus 11.0 points, which marks the highest level seen in 10 months. The reading came in above both the minus 13.2 points witnessed in January and market expectations, which had the indicator rising to minus 12.1 points. According to the NBB, the improvement reflected rising confidence in both the manufacturing sector and in business-related services.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect fixed investment to expand 0.3% in 2013, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. For 2014, the panel sees fixed investment expanding 1.9%.
Meanwhile, the NBB's February consumer confidence index jumped to minus 17 points from the minus 23 points recorded in January. The reading marks a second consecutive increase after the index had fallen to its lowest level since December 2008. According to the Bank, the monthly improvement reflected the households' less pessimistic view of the general economic situation for the next 12 months, and, consequently, a consumers' more optimistic assessment on the labour market in the next 12 months.
Participants expect private consumption to grow 0.4% in 2013, which is unchanged from last month's projection. Next year, the panel anticipates that private consumption will grow 1.1%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist