Belgium Economic Overview: Business Climate and Consumer Credit

Business Climate Stabilizes Amid Sectoral Variations

The Belgian business climate has shown signs of stabilization, countering a previous downward trend. However, beneath this overall picture lie diverse developments across sectors. While trade experienced a modest improvement in the business climate, the building industry faced deterioration. The manufacturing industry and business-related services remained relatively unchanged. Traders, anticipating increased demand, expect a surge in orders. Despite more subdued employment expectations, the synthetic indicator rose, halting a two-month decline.

Sectoral Insights: Trade, Manufacturing, and Building Industry

In the trade sector, optimism prevails as demand expectations drive traders to boost orders. Conversely, the building industry faces gloomier demand prospects and a less favorable assessment of order books. Manufacturing witnessed a stabilization in the confidence indicator, influenced by strong growth in demand expectations. The business-related services sector saw a recovery in general market demand expectations after two months of decline.

Consumer Credit and Mortgage Trends

In the realm of household and individual finances, the Central Consumer Credit Office reports trends in consumer and mortgage credits.

Consumer Credit Trends (August 2022 – July 2023):

  • The number of outstanding credits declined from 7,054,311 to 6,841,920.
  • Overdue credits decreased from 371,762 to 355,952.
  • New credits decreased from 1,256,070 to 1,284,397.
  • The number of borrowers with at least one outstanding credit reduced from 5,087,577 to 4,993,929.

Mortgage Credit Trends (August 2022 – July 2023):

  • The number of outstanding mortgage credits remained relatively stable, ranging from 3,323,620 to 3,329,235.
  • Overdue mortgage credits fluctuated within the range of 20,327 to 21,973.
  • New mortgage credits experienced variations, reaching a peak of 14,200 in September 2022.
  • The number of borrowers with at least one mortgage credit remained stable around 249,000.

Purpose of Mortgage Credits: Applications and Contracts (2022 – 2023)

  • In the first quarter of 2023, there were 36,700 mortgage credit applications, totaling 7,371 million euros.
  • Purchase and conversion purposes dominated mortgage credit applications.
  • Contracts drawn up during the same period amounted to 22,100, totaling 4,223 million euros.
  • The trend suggests a steady flow of mortgage credit applications and contracts.


Belgium’s economic landscape exhibits a nuanced picture, with sectoral variations influencing the overall business climate. Consumer and mortgage credit trends indicate shifts in borrowing behavior, reflecting broader economic dynamics. As the nation navigates through these complexities, keeping a close eye on sector-specific indicators remains crucial for a comprehensive understanding of Belgium’s economic trajectory.