Monday, 15 February 2021
In 2020, Belgium’s exports and imports fell by 8 and 9.5% respectively compared to 2019, according to a provisional estimate by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) published on Monday.
Belgium had not seen such a fall in its foreign trade since the recession of 2009, following the financial crisis.
However, the decline in 2020 is less than that of 2009. That year, exports had fallen by 16.7% and imports by 19.6%.
Although, since March 2020, due to the Covid-19 crisis, growth figures have been negative compared to the corresponding months of 2019, the year ended on a positive note.
Export figures have in fact returned to positive territory this month for the first time since the start of the health crisis, with growth of 2.5%. Imports continued to decline in December, but very slightly (-0.1%) and this is a positive development compared to the previous months of 2020.
Belgium’s foreign trade did not contract everywhere in 2020. Growth in trade with China remained robust.
In addition, trade with the United Kingdom has also increased strongly recently, but this is due to transactions carried out for Brexit. It is likely that the early 2021 figures for foreign trade with our British neighbours will be less good.
The Brussels Times