Economic projections for Belgium

Twice a year, the National Bank of Belgium publishes economic projections for Belgium. The main results are reproduced here. The results are discussed in more detail in the June 2022 issue of the Economic Review

The forecasts are compiled as part of the joint Eurosystem projections. They are also based on technical assumptions and international forecasts formulated jointly by the ECB and the euro area central banks. They only take account of measures that have been – or are very likely to be – formally approved and for which the implementing arrangements have been set out in sufficient detail at the cut-off date of the projections. The projection period runs to year t+3 (in this case up to 2024). The margin of error surrounding the projections is wider for the later years, partly owing to the greater uncertainty about the assumptions, especially those concerning the international environment. As it is impossible to predict the future course of the war in Ukraine, economic sanctions and their impact on international energy and commodity markets, these projections come with even more uncertainty than usual.

The latest projections for Belgium were finalised on 24 May and published on 13 June 2022. The corresponding results for the euro area are published on a dedicated webpage on the ECB’s dedicated webpage

The Belgian economy is temporarily losing momentum, owing to high (energy) prices and new disruptions in global supply chains because of the war in Ukraine and the strict coronavirus lockdowns in China. The energy shock is a clear setback for the Belgian economy, but it remains resilient and economic growth is forecast to gather pace again from the end of this year, as the various headwinds moderate. Overall, economic activity is expected to rise by around 2.4 %  in 2022 on an annual basis. The year-on-year growth rate should drop back temporarily in 2023, to 1.5 %, before picking up again in 2024 to 2 %. The labour market should continue to be highly robust: job creation is expected to slow down a little but remain positive. The unemployment rate is still historically low at around 5.7%. Inflation has risen under the impetus of rising energy prices and second-round effects but is believed to have reached its peak in May and should gradually fall back as energy prices moderate and supply chains normalise. It is projected to come back down from an average 8.2% in 2022 to 1.3% in 2024. The budget deficit is estimated at 4.5 % of GDP for 2022 and is forecast to further deteriorate in the course of the projection period. Government debt is on a rising path.

Projections for Belgium: summary of the main results

 

2020

2021

2022r

2023r

2024r

Real GDP  
(percentage changes)

-5,7

6,2

2,4

1,5

 2,0

Domestic employment   
(average annual change, in persons)

-800

86 000

84 700

28 900

 36 700

Unemployment rate
(in % of the labour force)¹

5,6

6,3

5,7

5,8

5,7

Inflation
(HICP – percentage changes)

0,4

3,2

8,2

2,6

 1,3

Overall balance of general government
(in % of GDP)

-9,0

-5,5

-4,5

-4,5

 -5,0

Public debt
(in % of GDP)

112,8

108,2

105,3

107,9

110,9

Source: NBB

1 15-64-year-olds, gross data

Date finalised: 24 May 2022. Next publication: December 2022