Business Confidence in Belgium Shows Mixed Trends in September 2023

In the latest monthly business survey for September 2023, the National Bank of Belgium reports mixed trends in business confidence across different sectors.

  • Business-related services: This sector has seen a notable improvement in confidence after a recent decline. All underlying components, especially activity expectations, have improved, reflecting a more positive outlook.
  • Manufacturing industry: Business sentiment in this sector has held virtually stable for the second consecutive month. Optimism about employment expectations is balanced by caution regarding demand expectations and concerns about current stock and order book levels.
  • Trade: Confidence in the trade sector declined due to deteriorating demand expectations, offsetting the previous month’s improvement. Orders with suppliers also decreased, while employment expectations remained mostly unchanged.
  • Building industry: This sector experienced the most significant loss of confidence in September, following a decline in August. All components contributed to this downward trend, except for demand expectations, which remained relatively stable.

Overall, the smoothed synthetic curve reflecting the underlying economic trend continues to fall, influenced by the negative results of recent months.

Business Survey Indicators:

  • Manufacturing Industry: -17.9
  • Business-related Services: -0.9
  • Building Industry: -11.7
  • Trade: -16.7
  • Overall Synthetic Curve: -14.4

Note: The smoothed curve has a two-month delay for the overall synthetic curve and a four-month delay for the branches of activity, reflecting recent developments more closely.

These trends highlight the diverse challenges faced by different sectors in Belgium’s economy, with some showing resilience while others experience declines in confidence. The National Bank of Belgium will continue to monitor these developments closely.