Belgian economy grew 10.7% in summer, but last quarter looks dark
Share article:
Share article:

Belgian economy grew 10.7% in summer, but last quarter looks dark

Home renovations were one spur to economic growth. © Laura Shaw/Pixabay

The Belgian economy recovered in the third quarter of the year by an unprecedented 10.7% following the lockdown from March onwards, De Tijd reports based on its own analysis.

However, the outlook for the final quarter of the year is not sunny, as the country heads for a new lockdown, whether full or partial.

The third quarter growth may have been spectacular, but it came in the aftermath of a 3.4% shrinkage in the first quarter, followed by 11.8% negative growth in the second quarter, when restaurants, bars and all non-essential retail was closed by government order.

Once the country came out of lockdown, the banks were forecasting a recovery of 7.7% growth. The actual figures were better than that prediction.

The re-opening of the economy after the coronavirus shutdown was not the only boost to the economy. As a result of the situation in other countries, many more people spent their summer holidays either at home or at destinations in Belgium, providing a much-needed stimulus to the domestic economy.

In addition, many Belgians took the opportunity to carry out work on their homes: the construction industry saw an 18% spurt in growth, compared to 12% in industry in general, and 9.9% in the services sector.

The growth in Q3 is reckoned to be the strongest in recent decades, the newspaper concludes, making up just over 60% of the losses in the first half. The economy now sits at 5.7% down from where it was at the end of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

But the year is not yet over. The hospitality sector is again closed. There is a curfew in place, and restrictions on retail. Sports, culture and entertainment are also in lockdown, and new restrictions are added from day to day.

The last quarter looks rather black in prospect, as a result. And the problems are unlikely to disappear with the New Year.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...