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.”
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.