Belgium by the numbers, November 2014
1. GDP 3rd quarter (compared with last year) : +0,8 %
2. Inflation rate (in the Eurozone) 0,1 %
3. Industrial production in August : +0,5 %
4. Unemployment rate in September : 8,5 %
5. Current Account Balance in June : -0,9 % of GDP
6. Budget Balance (expected) : -3,0 % of GDP
7. 10 years government bonds (25.10.2014) : 1,19 %
As we have said before, 2014 is being driven more by currency fluctuations and commodity prices than economic developments. Since the summer we have a quite large fluctuation of the dollar to the Euro, this in the long term will benefit the Euro-zone external trade.
The US dollar increased further this month and we believe that it’s a good thing for Belgian companies and European companies who export to the US because they can sell their products more expensively in the US than in Europe, so more profit.
The performance of Belgian bonds has continued to be positive, (that is the price has gone up and the yield down) the current yield now being 1,19 % (from 1.28% last month). While retirees will continue to be affected by the low rates, this is still advantageous to debt holders in the country (typically the young and of course the State itself).
The unemployment rate is more or less stable since last year (8,5 %). We are for now in an unemployment situation where the unemployment is increasing at older ages and decreasing at younger ages, so the unemployment situation being stable is a little bit alarming. For a young population unemployment may be considered less serious as younger people don’t have a lot of responsibilities. It’s different for older people because they have responsibilities, kids, house, etc. On the other hand if young people can’t find a job they can develop a lifestyle which makes restarting a disciplined life – getting up and going to work – difficult.
The current account balance has improved from -4,2 % to -0,9 %, (largely oil and currency). Slowly the situation is expected to continue to improve as before.
By Jeremiah Jacques at Dunhill Financial, to learn more about him: