Belgium Economic Forecast

Belgium Economic Outlook

May 28, 2019

Fears have erupted over a 2011-style political impasse following the 26 May election which will likely make forming a government a challenging and lengthy process. The pro-independence N-VA came out on top in the Dutch-speaking north and at the federal level; the Socialists dominated in the French-speaking south; while Vlaams Belang, an anti-immigrant, separatist party, captured the second-largest number of votes in the north of the country. A surge in support for the latter signals the increasingly polarized nature of the political landscape, which will complicate forming a coalition government. This comes against the backdrop of weaker growth in Q1. Lower retail sales growth in the quarter suggests household consumption faltered in the period, while a fall in business confidence likely dragged on fixed investment. Survey-based data for Q2 suggests another lackluster expansion; consumer confidence has been stuck in pessimistic territory, while business sentiment tumbled to a three-year low in May.

Belgium Economic Growth

Headwinds arising from cooling growth across the Eurozone and the escalation of trade conflicts are expected to weigh on exports and cause the highly-open economy to slow slightly this year. On the domestic front, household consumption should benefit from recent wage-indexing measures, while fixed investment is bolstered by cheap financing and capacity constraints. Met the why particular analysts see growth at 1.3% in 2019, unchanged from last month’s forecast, and at 1.3% again in 2020.

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Belgium Facts

Bond Yield0.180.15 %Jun 13
Exchange Rate1.130.65 %Jun 13
Stock Market3,492-0.23 %Jun 13

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