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    Belgium’s economy grows slightly more than expected

    Belgium’s economy grew by 0.4% in the second quarter of 2018, the latest figures from the National Bank of Belgium (BNB) showed on Friday. This was slightly more than was predicted in the most recent flash estimate, published in July, which expected a 0.3% growth over the first quarter. However, there was a slowdown in industry.

    Compared to the same period of last year, economic activity increased by 1.4%.

    Between the first and second quarters of this year, there was a 0.4%-increase in value added in construction, and 0.5% in the services sector. Industry decreased by 0.2%.

     Growth was registered in all components of domestic demand, the BNB stressed. “Households increased their spending on consumption (0.1%) and their investments (0.3%),” it said. Public spending also went up, at the level of both consumption (0.4%) and investments (1.6%). Moreover, businesses intensified their investments by 1%.

    Net exports of goods and services also made a positive contribution to gross domestic product (+0.3%), with the increase in exports (+0.7%) slightly higher than that of imports (+0.4%).

    Finally, in the second semester, domestic employment went up by 0.5% and was 1.2% higher than at the same period of 2017.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times