Belgium Business Confidence Stabilizes in October

Business sentiment in Belgium remained unchanged in October, beating expectations for a decline, data from the National Bank of Belgium showed Monday.

Business confidence stayed at 4.0 in October, unchanged from the previous month. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected the indicator to decline to 2.0.

The stabilization of the business barometer masks contrasting trends between branches of activity: an upturn is observed in services, while confidence is dropping back in the other branches of activity.

Business confidence in services rose to 16.4 in October from 8.0 in September, after three consecutive months of decline. Companies are generally more satisfied with recent trends in their activity and they assess future demand with more optimism.

In the building industry, the sentiment indicator fell to 1.1 from 4.5 in the previous month. Company managers' order book assessments are a lot less favorable, as are their demand forecasts. On the other hand, they are more optimistic about total order book levels, the report said.

The dip in confidence in the trade sector to minus 2.0 in October from 2.2 in September is the result of a sharp deterioration in forecasts for orders placed with suppliers and, to a lesser extent, the outlook for employment.

In the manufacturing industry, sentiment fell to 2.3 from 3.0 in the previous month. All components of the indicator are pointing slightly downward, with the exception of demand forecasts, which remain stable, the National Bank of Belgium said.

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


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  10-25-21 0914ET
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