Economic projections for Belgium – Spring 2021

The economic recovery in Belgium is gaining further traction in the course of the year, especially from the summer onwards, thanks to the progress made with the vaccination campaign which now makes a gradual relaxation of the restrictive measures possible. In 2021, the economy is set to grow by 5.5 % on an annual basis and GDP will thus get back to its pre-crisis level by the end of the year, after which the pace of growth will gradually normalise. Despite the strong decline in activity in 2020, the impact on unemployment remains limited. Moreover, on some specific segments of the labour market, there are once again shortages and employers are having difficulty in filling job vacancies. The reopening of the economy and the rising costs of intermediate inputs and transport are causing slightly higher inflation, but that should only be a temporary phenomenon. After the rare peak observed last year, the budget deficit is still being pushed up by the government support measures in 2021. Even when they will have been removed, the deficit will still be unsustainably high, at around 4.5% of GDP at unchanged policy. Lastly, the public debt is on an upward path at the end of the projection period.