Belgium: Industrial production moderates in March
May 25, 2011
In March, industrial production expanded 7.0% over the same month last year, which represented a notable slowdown compared to the 13.4% increase observed in February. That said, the March deceleration partially reflected the waning effect of a low base of comparison. The slowdown observed in March was broad based, with manufacturing output and construction activity decelerating markedly over the previous month. In contrast, electricity, gas and water supply contracted over the previous month. A month-on-month comparison, in fact, points to an even steeper deterioration than the deceleration suggested by the annual figures, as industrial output fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5% over the previous month, which contrasted the 2.2% expansion in February. As a result of the March outturn, the trend now points to a moderation in the recovery process of the industrial sector, with annual average growth in industrial output inching down from 8.3% in February to 8.2% in March. Meanwhile, the Central Bank anticipates the economy will grow 2.0% this year, which is in line with the Federal Planning Bureau estimate that has the economy growing 2.0% this year.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist