Belgium Economic Forecast

Belgium Economic Outlook

January 29, 2019

Available fourth-quarter data points to a sluggish end to last year, although buoyant retail sales through November suggest that domestic demand largely held up. Despite a tight labor market, however, household spending looks to have clocked only modest growth through year-end as income gains were increasingly offset by higher inflation. Meanwhile, late-year exports suffered amid industrial-output losses in France and Germany—contrasting the third quarter’s moderate, export-led national accounts. In the political arena, Prime Minister Charles Michel’s resignation on 18 December followed a parliamentary standoff over his opposition to a UN-led migration pact. With the caretaker government seemingly reticent to rock the boat, economic policy is unlikely to shift in the run-up to federal elections in May.

Belgium Economic Growth

Despite solid economic fundamentals, growth is expected to remain modest this year amid a more challenging European backdrop. Household spending is set to get a boost from recent wage-indexing measures and lower energy costs, although any upturn would likely be moderate. Meanwhile, cheap financing and tighter industrial capacity ought to sustain fixed investment. Downside risks hinge on the highly-open nature of the economy; a slowdown across the Eurozone and any escalation of trade conflicts stand to bruise exports. Met the why particular analysts project growth of 1.4% in 2019, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 1.3% in 2020.

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Belgium Facts

ValueChangeDate
Bond Yield0.770.15 %Jan 30
Exchange Rate1.140.65 %Jan 30
Stock Market3,488-0.23 %Jan 30

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