Economic Indicators for Belgium – NBB Report (2023-39, September 29)

Real GDP Growth Moderates in 2023, Forecasts Point to Steady Expansion

The National Bank of Belgium (NBB) has released its latest economic indicators, revealing a nuanced outlook for the country’s economic performance.

Real GDP Growth:

  • Belgium’s real GDP growth is expected to moderate from 4.1% in 2022 to 2.7% in 2023 and further to 2.6% in 2024.
  • The forecasts suggest a gradual slowdown in economic expansion.

Inflation and Consumer Prices:

  • Inflation remains relatively stable, with the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) projected to increase by 1.8% in 2023.
  • The underlying trend in inflation, excluding food and energy, is expected to be around 1.8%, reflecting a balanced price environment.

Labor Market:

  • Total employment is anticipated to see positive growth, contributing to a decline in the unemployment rate.
  • Harmonised unemployment rates for Belgium are projected to decrease, aligning with improving economic conditions.

Business and Consumer Confidence:

  • Business sentiment, as reflected in the overall synthetic curve, remains positive, indicating a balanced outlook across manufacturing, building, trade, and business-related services.
  • Consumer confidence remains robust, with expectations on the general economic situation showing optimism for the next 12 months.

Trade and Current Account:

  • Belgium’s trade balance is expected to remain resilient, contributing positively to the current account.
  • The current account is likely to reflect a healthy position amid international trade dynamics.

Cautionary Notes:

  • While the forecasts indicate a positive trajectory, external factors and global economic uncertainties may impact these projections.

Conclusion: Belgium’s economic landscape in 2023 appears to be characterized by moderate growth, stable inflation, and positive sentiment in both business and consumer spheres. The NBB’s forecasts provide valuable insights for policymakers and businesses navigating the evolving economic landscape.