Belgium’s Economic Indicators Show Steady Growth in 2023

The latest economic indicators from Belgium, sourced from the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), reveal a consistent growth trend in various sectors during the first half of 2023.

GDP Growth and Components Belgium’s real GDP growth for the second quarter of 2023 reached 0.8%, continuing the positive momentum observed earlier this year. This growth was driven by an increase in final private consumption, which rose by 1.5% compared to the same period last year. Additionally, gross fixed capital formation, especially in the business sector, contributed to the economic expansion, increasing by 6.7%. Exports of goods and services saw a steady growth of 6.4%, further boosting the economy.

Inflation and Consumer Prices The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in Belgium recorded a year-on-year increase of 2.7% in the second quarter of 2023. Energy costs showed a significant rise of 10.3%, driven by global energy market fluctuations. Unprocessed food prices also increased by 9.3%, reflecting supply chain challenges. The underlying trend in inflation, which excludes food and energy, remained stable at 1.7%, indicating moderate price changes in other consumer goods and services.

Employment and Unemployment Belgium’s employment market demonstrated resilience, with the total domestic employment increasing by 4.9% compared to the previous year. The employment rate for individuals aged 20-64 years stood at 73.9%, showcasing a positive trend in workforce participation. The unemployment rate, including both those under and above 25 years old, saw a decline of 6.8%, marking improvements in job market conditions.

Business and Consumer Confidence Businesses across various sectors maintained a positive outlook on the economy. The overall synthetic curve, which considers manufacturing, building, trade, and business-related services, showed an upward trend, reflecting a positive sentiment among businesses. Consumer confidence also remained stable, with the consumer confidence index standing at 5.4 in the second quarter of 2023.

Belgium’s economic performance in the first half of 2023 indicates steady growth, driven by factors such as increased consumption, investment, and exports. Despite challenges in energy costs and food prices, the overall economic outlook remains positive, as reflected by strong business and consumer confidence.