Belgium: Leading indicators paint mixed picture in December
December 20, 2012
The December business confidence indicator published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) rose to minus 11.8 points. The reading represented an improvement compared to the minus 13.4 points observed in November and exceeded market expectations, which had the index rising to minus 12.9 points. According to the NBB, the improvement in business confidence was broad-based, but was particularly observed in construction and manufacturing. In contrast, sentiment deteriorated in business-related services.
Meanwhile, the Bank's December consumer confidence indicator dropped to minus 25 points from the minus 24 points registered in November, thus returning to levels not seen since late 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis. According to the Bank, the December drop mostly reflected households' dim prospects for their future financial situation, as they believe that their capacity to save will worsen in the coming year. That said, consumers' assessment of the general economic situation as well as their prospects for the labour market in the next 12 months improved somewhat compared to the previous month.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist