The Belgian economy grew slightly over the first quarter of this year despite a decline in manufacturing output, according to a recent analysis by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB).
The NBB noted in a report published on Thursday that Belgium's real GDP grew by 0.5% over the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter, although manufacturing experienced a quarterly decline of 0.6%.
Belgium's net positive growth in the past quarter is put down to expansions in its services and construction sectors, which grew by 0.8% and 0.3% respectively.
The NBB also noted that Belgium experienced year-on-year GDP growth of 1.4% over the first three months of this year, down from 1.5% in the final quarter of 2022. Belgium's year-on-year growth has now steadily declined since hitting 6.2% in the final quarter of 2021.
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The NBB's report largely corroborates a flash estimate produced by the Bank at the end of April, when it calculated that Belgium experienced a quarterly growth rate of 0.4% over the first three months of this year.
"This is a good figure, but isn't exactly cause for any euphoria: we can see an important sectoral contrast," Senior Economist at ING Belgium Philippe Ledent told l'Echo at the time.
He added: "Industry continues to suffer, due to competitiveness problems in particular. The services sector is driving growth because there is still a post-Covid catch-up effect at work. If the industrial sector does not improve, at some point, overall growth could slow down again."