Belgian Business Confidence Declines in October Across Sectors

The National Bank of Belgium reports a decline in business confidence across various sectors in October 2023, reflecting concerns about current and future economic activity.

Key Findings:

  1. Overall Business Confidence Decline: The overall synthetic curve for business confidence in Belgium decreased from -14.4 in September to -16.8 in October 2023, indicating a general deterioration in sentiment.
  2. Sector-Specific Analysis:
    • Manufacturing Industry: Maintained stability with a curve of -17.9, showing no change from the previous month.
    • Business-Related Services: Experienced a significant drop, falling from -0.9 to -14.2, indicating a pronounced loss of confidence in this sector.
    • Building Industry: Witnessed a decline from -11.7 to -13.6, with increased pessimism about demand expectations and order books.
    • Trade Sector: Recorded a dip from -16.7 to -20.1, driven by decreases in employment and demand expectations.
  3. Employment Outlook:
    • Employment expectations fell sharply in the manufacturing industry, business-related services, and trade sectors.
    • The building industry observed a slight increase in employment expectations, despite an overall decline in the sector’s confidence.
  4. Capacity Utilization Rate: The seasonally adjusted capacity utilization rate in the manufacturing industry dropped to 74.4% in October, the lowest since the summer of 2020.
  5. Manufacturing Industry Stability: Despite challenges in other sectors, the manufacturing industry maintained stability with no change in its synthetic curve.