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Belgian economic growth stalls: 'We expect an energy problem in the winter'

Belgian economic growth stalls: ‘We expect an energy problem in the winter’

© Reuters

Some banks have lowered growth prospects for the Belgian economy this week. This is shown on Saturday from a poll by the time. It mainly refers to very high energy prices. “We’re expecting a power problem in the winter,” says Philip Ledent, an economist with ING. “We assume that energy prices will remain high and we fear energy shortages.”

gjssource: BELGA

All five banks surveyed expect zero growth in the third quarter. Four out of five – BNP Paribas Fortis being the exception – expect the economy to contract in the fourth quarter. ING and Degroof Petercam forecast a recession, as they also see a decline in economic activity in the first quarter of 2023. Economists talk about a recession when the economy contracts for two consecutive quarters.

The average growth forecast for the five banks for 2023 is barely 0.2%, compared to 2.4% for 2022. But forecasts vary from -0.4% to +0.7%. This large difference illustrates the enormous uncertainty.

Fear of energy scarcity is the main reason. This has caused gas prices in Europe to skyrocket.

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