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According to a new economic impact study from the National Bank of Belgium, the spread of COVID-19 and the stringent containment measures imposed by governments hit Belgian international maritime trade volumes. Export and import flows through maritime transport with non-EU countries declined respectively by 5% and 4% in 2020, while the aggregate turnover of Belgian ports dropped by 10.5%. 


The climate debate is a hot topic at the moment. To what extent are Belgian firms now developing environmentally-friendly technologies that could have a mitigating impact on climate change? Are we among the pioneers in Europe or are we lagging behind other countries? Which particular technologies are Belgian firms innovating in? And what role are the universities playing? Drawing on patent data for these technology channels, the National Bank has been taking stock.

green innovation

GDP was 0.6 % higher in the first quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter. In comparison with the first quarter of 2020 economic growth came to -1.0 %. Economic activity is still not back to its pre-COVID-19 level.

Flash estimate

Did the income of households hold up during the coronavirus crisis, and what about their savings buffer? We looked into it using their responses to the recent consumer surveys.



The loss of turnover which Belgian firms are suffering as a result of the coronavirus crisis has risen only slightly from 9 % in March to 10 % in April. For most sectors of activity, turnover is relatively stable while the loss of turnover has increased considerably in non-food retailing and especially in non-medical contact professions, as these two sectors were affected by the tightening of restrictions during the “Easter break”. 

ermg spotlight

The business climate has clearly strengthened in business-related services as well as in the manufacturing industry and the building industry. In the trade sector the indicator fell back.


Consumers appear more pessimistic about the general economic situation and unemployment in Belgium. Plans to save are on the rise again.

  • Press release - Consumer confidence indicator (2021-05)

  • Economic indicators for Belgium (2021-20)

  • Press release - Business confidence indicator (2021-05)

  • Economic indicators for Belgium (2021-21)

  • Press release - NAI - Quarterly aggregates (2021-I)

  • Economic indicators for Belgium (2021-22)

  • Economic indicators for Belgium (2021-23)

  • Press release - Foreign Trade (F-N) (2021-03)

  • Foreign Trade statistic - Monthly Bulletin (F-N) (2021-03)

  • Statistical bulletin - Monthly update (2021-05)

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