The Belgian economy in the wake of the COVID-19 shock

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures that have been taken to curb the virus’s spread have had a huge impact on the Belgian economy. This article first and foremost takes stock of the short-term quantitative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on economic activity, income and the labour market. In doing so, it draws a comparison with the last great recession, namely the 2008-2009 economic and financial crisis.

This article also analyses the potential long-term qualitative effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the Belgian economy. The current crisis has in fact dramatically speeded up several existing trends. What exactly are the consequences of the unprecedented expansion of working from home, e-commerce and digitalisation for the various economic agents? What influence are these behavioural changes having on the real estate market? Based on currently available information, the article looks into a post-COVID world and endeavours to sketch an image of the pandemic-induced structural changes that will affect the Belgian economy.