Belgium Business Confidence Reaches Record High in July

07/26/2021 | 07:14am
Maria Martinez

By Maria Martinez

Business sentiment in Belgium increased in July for the eighth consecutive month, reaching a record high amid the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Business confidence rose to 10.1 in July from 9.8 in June, data from the National Bank of Belgium showed Monday. The reading, which is the highest since the indicator in its current composition was introduced in 1980, is slightly below the forecast of 10.3 from economists polled by the Wall Street Journal.

The increase conceals contrasting trends between branches of activity, the central bank said. The business climate is improving in the manufacturing industry and even more strongly in the trade sector. In contrast, confidence among company managers has dropped back in services and most notably in the building industry.

The upturn is gaining ground in the trade sector, rising to minus 0.2 from minus 3.5 thanks to the recovery in demand forecasts and those for orders placed with suppliers, the report said.

The improvement in confidence in the manufacturing sector, in which the index rose to 10.0 from 8.8 in June, is almost exclusively based on a much more favorable appraisal of stock levels given the summer season, the National Bank said.

In the building industry, however, all the indicators are pointing downwards. This made the building industry index fall to 5.8 in July from 9.3 in June.

In the services sector, the big drop in forecasts for activity have been almost fully offset by a brighter view from entrepreneurs of their current level of activity. The index fell slightly to 18.1 in July from 18.7 in June.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

07-26-21 0914ET

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