IRES counts on “slightly increased” 2017 economic growth in Belgium

The Institute for Economic and Social Research of UCL (IRES) is counting on “modest” growth in the Belgian economy of 1.5% this year. This compares to 1.2% in 2016, whilst employment should increase, in net terms by 52,000.

This emerges from the most recent economic report by IRES published today (Thursday).

The Institute summarises, “Belgium’s economic growth in 2017, should be a little more sustained than it proved to be in 2016. Indeed exports are likely to be able to take advantage of an international economic environment which is becoming progressively better focused.”

It goes on, “At the same time domestic demand is likely to be supported by both the advantageous position of the employment market and the revival of business and household consumer confidence.”

There is however a caveat in respect of the latter. The Institute stresses, “Economic activity continues to progress intermittently, without succeeding in maintaining a sustained rate of growth for several consecutive quarters. Belgium’s economic position remains somewhat fragile and subject to numerous unknowns.”

In more detail, the number of job seekers is likely to reduce by around 24,500 in 2017, general price consumption inflation is likely stabilise at 2.1% and household purchasing power to increase by 1.2%. This will be “mainly supported by a sustained highly positive development of employment and by exceeding the threshold index in the second quarter.”

Lastly estimated at 3% of GDP in 2016, the overall budget deficit for public sector administrations should reduce to 2.4% in 2017.

The Brussels Times

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