National Accounts

In Belgium, as in all EU countries, the national accounts are compiled in accordance with the definitions of the “European System of National and Regional Accounts” (ESA). Since September 2014, the system of accounts is the ESA 2010 which replaced the previous system, the ESA 1995. The ESA 2010 has updated the ESA 1995 while retaining its general principles and foundations. Nonetheless, the ESA 2010 provided the opportunity to introduce some adjustments to tailor the system more closely to the new economic environment and to respond better to the changes that economies have undergone during the past twenty years.

The compilation of the national accounts in Belgium makes use of a large number of information sources, both administrative data and surveys, in order to create a database containing consistent and exhaustive statistical information. Moreover, the compilation of the national accounts is also based on an exhaustive business register.

  • The quarterly accounts are published in several stages. A first flash estimate of economic growth is produced 30 days after the end of the quarter. That figure is reviewed 60 days after the end of the quarter and published on the Bank’s website together with detailed statistics on the composition of gross domestic product (value added, expenditure, revenue) and on the labour market. The final, complete estimate of the main economic aggregates is published 120 days after the end of the quarter. A selection of statistics on the quarterly accounts of the institutional sectors is published approximately 105 days after the end of the quarter. That publication includes certain key indicators such as the household savings ratio, and the government’s quarterly accounts.
  • A first estimate of the national accounts, based mainly on the quarterly accounts, is published in the April following the reference year.
  • More definitive figures are included in the detailed accounts and tables published in mid-October of the year following the reference year. Those accounts present tables for each branch of activity (production account and operating account, main expenditure categories, investment and employment), and the accounts of the various institutional sectors. After that, the capital stock and the detailed supply and use tables are published.
  • The government’s annual accounts form the subject of two annual estimates. A first estimate is published in mid-April in the form of tables of the main government revenue and expenditure. The second estimate is published in autumn and presents the detailed complete accounts which are incorporated in the publication of the sectoral accounts. These two estimates are in line with the data submitted for the purpose of the excessive deficit procedure.
  • The satellite account of non-profit institutions is likewise a statistic published in the general framework of the national accounts. The satellite account of non-profit institutions is not part of the European statistical obligations. Nevertheless, it conforms to the international standards on the subject.

Regional accounts

  • The regional accounts are published in February and present data on the aggregates per branch of activity and the household income accounts for the regions, provinces and districts. The aggregates per branch of activity comprise gross value added, compensation of employees, the number of persons in work and gross fixed capital formation. The household income accounts include the primary income allocation account, the secondary income distribution account and disposable income per capita.
  • The regional breakdown of Belgian imports and exports of goods and services is available from 1995 onwards and is produced jointly by the NBB and the three Regions. The regional figures are not part of the European statistical obligations, but are based on the methodological principles defined at European level and used for the other variables per branch of activity.