Belgian business confidence fell more than economists forecast in June to the lowest in more than 2 1/2 years as factory executives reduced their expectations for demand and employment.
The confidence index for Belgium dropped for a fourth straight month to minus 13.2 from minus 11.2 in May, the Brussels-based National Bank of Belgium said in a statement today. Economists had predicted a decline to minus 12, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
“Confidence in the manufacturing industry once more took a turn for the worse, partly as a result of a significant downward revision of the outlook for employment and demand,” the central bank said in the statement. “The overall synthetic curve is pointing downwards for the second consecutive month, confirming a weakening of economic activity since the month of March.”
The worsening sentiment among Belgian manufacturers mirrors declines in Germany and France, which are Belgium’s largest export markets and the two biggest economies in the 17-nation euro currency bloc. The European Commission forecasts the euro- area economy will shrink 0.3 percent this year. At least eight member states are in a recession.
Consumer confidence in Belgium was unchanged in June as deteriorating prospects for employment offset a more positive assessment about the economic outlook.
Roularta Media Group NV (ROU), Belgium’s biggest magazine publisher, said on June 19 that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization may drop as much as 25 percent because of lower advertising revenue. Sales fell in May and June as companies reduced media budgets amid uncertainty on financial markets regarding Greece and Spain, Roularta said.
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