Belgium: Economic growth remains flat in Q3
December 5, 2012
In the third quarter, GDP growth was flat over the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis. The reading matched the preliminary estimate released by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) on 31 October and marked an improvement over the 0.5% contraction recorded in the second quarter. Compared to the same period the previous year, GDP declined 0.3% in Q3, which mirrored the contraction recorded in Q2.
The quarterly figure was mainly the result of an improvement in domestic demand, whereas the external sector deteriorated somewhat compared to the previous quarter. Private consumption bounced back from a 0.4% drop in Q2 to a 0.1% expansion in Q3, while government spending also rebounded in the third quarter (Q3: +0.1% quarter-on-quarter; Q2: -0.1% qoq). Meanwhile, fixed investment contracted 0.3% in Q3, an improvement over the 0.6% decline seen in Q2. On the external side of the economy, exports of goods and services increased 0.3% in the third quarter (Q2: -0.6% qoq), while imports improved from a 1.1% contraction in the second quarter to zero growth in the third.
Consequently, the external sector's net contribution to overall economic growth dropped from 0.4 percentage points in the second quarter to 0.2 percentage points in the third. The Federal Planning Bureau revised its growth forecasts and now expects the economy to contract 0.1% in 2012, which contrasts the 0.1% expansion previously estimated. For 2013, the Bureau sees the economy growing 0.7%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist