According to the National Bank of Belgium [NBB], in Q2 of 2010 GDP growth gained momentum: up 2.2% year-on-year and 0.7% on the previous quarter. For the whole of 2010 the NBB forecasts growth of 1.3% with a further 1.7% in 2011. Industrial production and exports have also risen since the beginning of the year.
The consumer confidence index increased in June and July after its drop in May, as consumers expectations for the recovery of the Belgian economy have become more optimistic and fears of a massive rise in unemployment have subsided [the unemployment rate had reached 8.6% in May].
With the exception of business related services, business confidence in all the main sectors improved in July, after having weakened in the preceding two months.
Fewer insolvencies than in 2009 expected
Statistics Belgium reports that corporate insolvencies are still increasing: up 3.7% in Q2 of 2010 to 2,518 cases. The sectors most affected were construction [up 20.1%] and transport [13%], while the increase in manufacturing [3.6%] and retail [3.1%] was more modest. However, the overall annual insolvency growth rate has moderated over the past few months and, based on the outlook for economic activity in the year ahead, Crédito y Caución currently forecasts that the number of insolvencies in 2010 will decrease 5% year-on-year to around 8,950 cases.
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