Belgian Business Sentiment Drops in November

Belgian business sentiment declined in November, after rising for six consecutive months in its recovery from the coronavirus in the spring, data from the National Bank of Belgium showed Tuesday.

Business confidence in Belgium fell to minus 12.1 in November from minus 8.5 in October. This compares with a forecast of minus 16.0 by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The business climate has deteriorated in the trade sector in particular, as well as in business-related services. The building industry also registered a decline. The manufacturing industry is the only sector which has narrowly escaped the prevailing gloom, the National Bank of Belgium said.

The economic situation has clearly weakened in the trade sector, with the indicator falling to minus 30.4 from minus 14.5 in October. Demand forecasts have collapsed, triggering an anticipated reduction in orders placed with suppliers, and job prospects are also shrinking, the national bank said.

In the services sector, entrepreneurs appear to take a more negative attitude about the future of their own business activity and the indicator has dropped to minus 24.0 in November from minus 8.7 in October.

Confidence in the construction sector fell to minus 12.1 from to minus 4.3 in October.

Sentiment only improved in the manufacturing sector, with the index rising to minus 8 in November from minus 9 in October thanks to a slightly more positive appraisal of total order books and on employment prospects, the bank said.

Write to Maria Martinez at maria.martinez@wsj.com


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  11-24-20 0914ET
  Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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