Belgium - Economic Indicators

Global Outlook: Passing the Peak

Sep 05, 2018

View the Moody's Analytics Global Forecast. The global economic environment remains upbeat, but has likely passed its peak for this cycle. Escalating trade tensions have stressed the economic relationship between the U.S. and China; there are rising adverse implications for the global economy and heightened downside risks to the outlook. Risks stemming from Brexit, emerging markets contagion fears, and oil price swings also remain in the spotlight. Despite...

Continue reading on Economy.com View Factbook for Belgium

GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Private Consumption 2018 Q2 57,275 56,948 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Private Consumption 2018 Q2 54,405 54,361 Mil. Ch. 2015 EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2018 Q2 112,228 110,912 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2018 Q2 25,349 25,125 Mil. Ch. 2015 EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2018 Q2 26,364 25,984 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Government Consumption 2018 Q2 26,153 25,940 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Government Consumption 2018 Q2 25,108 24,998 Mil. Ch. 2015 EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Gross Domestic Product 2018 Q2 107,213 106,782 Mil. Ch. 2015 EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Investment 2018 Q2 26,559 26,402 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Investment 2017 98,611,538,900 97,561,948,900 NCU Annual
Price Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Price Index (CPI) Oct 2018 108.31 107.58 Index 2013=100, NSA Monthly
Producer Price Index (PPI) Sep 2018 117.4 116.9 Index 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Unemployment Sep 2018 508,376 525,327 #, NSA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Sep 2018 6.5 6.8 %, NSA Monthly
Total Employment 2018 Q2 4,779 4,757 Ths. #, CDASA Quarterly
Primary Industries Employment 2018 Q2 59.5 59.3 Ths. #, CDASA Quarterly
Tertiary Industries Employment 2018 Q2 3,883 3,866 Ths. #, CDASA Quarterly
Labor Force Employment 2018 Q2 4,779 4,757 Ths. #, CDASA Quarterly
Wage & Salaries 2018 Q2 55,500 54,924 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Agriculture Employment 2017 63,644 62,609 # Annual
Labor Force 2017 5,326 5,288 Thousands, NSA Annual
Secondary Industries Employment 2016 552,096 551,167 # Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Balance of Goods Sep 2018 1,720 1,224 Mil. EUR, NSA Monthly
Imports of Goods Sep 2018 30,420 29,970 Mil. EUR, NSA Monthly
Exports of Goods Sep 2018 32,141 31,195 Mil. EUR, NSA Monthly
Exports of Goods and Services 2018 Q2 96,223 95,147 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2018 Q2 93,959 93,608 Mil. Ch. 2015 EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2018 Q2 95,958 95,284 Mil. Ch. 2015 EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Imports of Goods and Services 2018 Q2 95,768 94,348 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Net Exports 2018 Q2 455 799 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Current Account Balance Jun 2018 -41 -3,126 Mil. EUR, NSA Monthly
Government Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Outstanding Public Debt 2018 Q2 397,424 400,664 Mil. EUR, NSA Quarterly
Gross External Debt 2018 Q2 0 0 USD, NSA Quarterly
Government Budget Balance 2016 1,606 2,275 Mil. EUR Annual
Government Revenues 2016 214,569 210,714 Mil. EUR Annual
Government Expenditures 2016 225,101 220,858 Mil. EUR Annual
Markets Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Average Long-term Government Bond 16 Nov 2018 0.97 0.98 %, NSA Business Daily
Stock Market Index 15 Nov 2018 3,526 3,538 Index, NSA Business Daily
Treasury Bills (over 31 days) 09 Nov 2018 -0.72 -0.73 %, NSA Business Daily
Lending Rate Sep 2018 2.13 2.13 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Money Market Rate Jan 1999 3.13 3.32 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Real Estate Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
House Price Value 2018 Q2 3,765,660,706 3,760,987,975 EUR, NSA Quarterly
House Price Index for Existing Homes 2018 Q2 107.88 107.25 Index 2015=100, NSA Quarterly
House Price Index for New Homes 2018 Q2 110.92 108.24 Index 2015=100, NSA Quarterly
Non-residential Building Permits Dec 2017 288 302 #, NSA Monthly
Residential Building Permits Dec 2017 1,918 2,065 #, NSA Monthly
Building Permits 2017 44,032,886 37,134,048 Square metres Annual
House Price Index 2017 4,911 4,766 Index 1953=100 Annual
Residential Housing Starts Dec 2015 1,596 1,794 #, NSA Monthly
Non-residential Housing Starts Dec 2015 3 4 #, NSA Monthly
Consumer Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Confidence Oct 2018 -8 -6 Balance of Opinion, SA Monthly
Retail Sales Aug 2018 96.08 102 Index 2015=100, NSA Monthly
Real Retail Sales Aug 2018 91.87 97.24 Vol. Index 2015=100, NSA Monthly
Business Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Business Confidence Oct 2018 -1.1 1.2 Balance of Opinion, SA Monthly
Change in Inventories 2018 Q2 1,981 1,241 Mil. EUR, CDASA Quarterly
Industrial Production Dec 2017 110.7 114.7 Index 2010=100, SA Monthly
Real Change in Inventories 1970 1,693,134,800 NCU Annual
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Net Migration 2017 240,000 # Annual
Births 2017 119,102 121,161 # Annual
Deaths 2017 109,629 108,056 # Annual
Population 2017 11,376 11,322 Ths. # Annual
Birth Rate 2015 10.8 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Death Rate 2014 9.3 # per Ths. pop. Annual

Factbook

Background

Background:
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. In recent years, political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemish of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. The capital city of Brussels is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

Geography

Location:
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Geographic coordinates:
50 50 N, 4 00 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 30,528 sq km
land: 30,278 sq km
water: 250 sq km
country comparison to the world: 141
Area - comparative:
about the size of Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 1,297 km
border countries (4): France 556 km, Germany 133 km, Luxembourg 130 km, Netherlands 478 km
Coastline:
66.5 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit
continental shelf: median line with neighbors
Climate:
temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Terrain:
flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Elevation:
mean elevation: 181 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: North Sea 0 m
highest point: Botrange 694 m
Natural resources:
construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
Land use:
agricultural land: 44.1%
arable land 27.2%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 16.1%
forest: 22.4%
other: 33.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
230 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
most of the population concentrated in the northern two-thirds of the country; the southeast is more thinly populated; considered to have one of the highest population densities in the world; approximately 97% live in urban areas
Natural hazards:
flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Environment - current issues:
intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
crossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals are within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO

People & Society

Population:
11,491,346 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
Nationality:
noun: Belgian(s)
adjective: Belgian
Ethnic groups:
Belgian 75%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 12.8% (2011 est.)
Languages:
Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant and other Christian 2.5%, Muslim 5%, Jewish 0.4%, Buddhist 0.3%, atheist 9.2%, none 32.6% (2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.16% (male 1,010,201/female 961,994)
15-24 years: 11.34% (male 665,483/female 637,700)
25-54 years: 40.05% (male 2,320,845/female 2,281,411)
55-64 years: 12.86% (male 732,062/female 746,212)
65 years and over: 18.58% (male 929,594/female 1,205,844) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 54.2
youth dependency ratio: 26.2
elderly dependency ratio: 28
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 41.4 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 42.7 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Population growth rate:
0.7% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
Birth rate:
11.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
Death rate:
9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
Net migration rate:
5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Population distribution:
most of the population concentrated in the northern two-thirds of the country; the southeast is more thinly populated; considered to have one of the highest population densities in the world; approximately 97% live in urban areas
Urbanization:
urban population: 97.9% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.36% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
BRUSSELS (capital) 2.045 million; Antwerp 994,000 (2015)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
28.6 years (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality ratio:
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.1 years
male: 78.5 years
female: 83.8 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Total fertility rate:
1.78 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
66.8%
note: percent of women aged 15-54 (2013)
Health expenditures:
10.6% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 18
Physicians density:
3.01 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
Hospital bed density:
6.2 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 99.4% of population
total: 99.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 0.6% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
22.1% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 81
Education expenditures:
6.6% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 30
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 20 years
male: 19 years
female: 21 years (2014)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 22.1%
male: 23.8%
female: 20% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
conventional short form: Belgium
local long form: Royaume de Belgique (French)/Koninkrijk Belgie (Dutch)/Koenigreich Belgien (German)
local short form: Belgique/Belgie/Belgien
etymology: the name derives from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries B.C.
Government type:
federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capital:
name: Brussels
geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
3 regions (French: regions, singular - region; Dutch: gewesten, singular - gewest); Brussels-Capital Region, also known as Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch), Region de Bruxelles-Capitale (French long form), Bruxelles-Capitale (French short form); Flemish Region (Flanders), also known as Vlaams Gewest (Dutch long form), Vlaanderen (Dutch short form), Region Flamande (French long form), Flandre (French short form); Walloon Region (Wallonia), also known as Region Wallone (French long form), Wallonie (French short form), Waals Gewest (Dutch long form), Wallonie (Dutch short form)
note: as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; the 2012 sixth state reform transferred additional competencies from the federal state to the regions and linguistic communities
Independence:
4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
National holiday:
Belgian National Day (ascension to the throne of King LEOPOLD I), 21 July (1831)
Constitution:
history: drafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state)
amendments: "revisions" proposed as declarations by the federal government in accord with the king or by Parliament followed by dissolution of Parliament and new elections; adoption requires two-thirds majority vote of a two-thirds quorum in both houses of the next elected Parliament; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)
Legal system:
civil law system based on the French Civil Code; note - Belgian law continues to be modified in conformance with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union; judicial review of legislative acts
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belgium
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH, daughter of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Charles MICHEL (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Ministers Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012), Jan JAMBON (since 11 October 2014), Kris PEETERS, Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and approved by Parliament
Legislative branch:
description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate or Senaat (in Dutch), Senat (in French) (60 seats; 50 members indirectly elected by the community and regional parliaments based on their election results, and 10 elected by the 50 other senators; members serve 5-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (in Dutch), Chambre des Representants (in French) (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
note: the 1993 constitutional revision that further devolved Belgium into a federal state created three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; this reality leaves six governments, each with its own legislative assembly; changes above occurred since the sixth state reform
elections: Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); note - elections will coincide with the EU's elections
election results: Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - N-VA 20.3%, PS 11.7%, CD&V 11.6%, Open VLD 9.8%, MR 9.6%, SP.A 8.8%, Groen! 5.3%, CDH 5.0% Workers' Party 3.7%, VB 3.7%, Ecolo 3.3%, Defi 1.8%, PP 1.5%, other 3.9%; seats by party - N-VA 33, PS 23, MR 20, CD&V 18, Open VLD 14, SP.A 13, Groen! 6, CDH 9, Workers' Party 2, VB 3, Ecolo 6, Defi 2, PP 1
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Constitutional Court or Grondwettelijk Hof in Dutch and Cour constitutionelle in French (consists of 12 judges - 6 Dutch-speaking and 6 French-speaking); Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie in Dutch and Cour de Cassation in French (court organized into 3 chambers: civil and commercial; criminal; social, fiscal, and armed forces; each chamber includes a Dutch division and a French division, each with a chairperson and 5-6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by Parliament; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by the High Council of Justice, a 44-member independent body of judicial and non-judicial members; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional courts; specialized courts for administrative, commercial, labor, immigration, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace
Political parties and leaders:
Flemish parties:
Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Wouter BEKE]
Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Gwendolyn RUTTEN]
Groen [Meyrem ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER]
Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [John CROMBEZ and Stephanie VAN HOUTVEN]
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN]
Francophone parties:
Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Patrick DUPRIEZ and Zakia KHATTABI]
Francophone Federalist Democrats or Defi [Olivier MAINGAIN]
Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Benoit LUTGEN]
People's Party or PP [Mischael MODRIKAMEN]
Reform Movement or MR [Olivier CHASTEL]
Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]
Workers' Party or PTB [Peter MERTENS]
other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Belgian General Federation of Labor or ABVV or FGTB [Rudy DE LEEUW, Marc GOBLET]
Confederation of Christian Trade Unions or ACV or CSC [Marc LEEMANS, Marie-Helene SKA]
Federation of Enterprises in Belgium or VBO or FEB [Pieter TIMMERMANS, Bernard GILLIOT]
other: numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; trade unions; various organizations representing the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as BEPax and groups representing immigrants
International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dirk Jozef M. WOUTERS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900
FAX: [1] (202) 333-3079
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Matthew LUSSENHOP (since 21 January 2017)
embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent [Regentlaan], B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710
telephone: [32] (2) 811-4000
FAX: [32] (2) 811-4500
Flag description:
three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field)
National symbol(s):
golden rampant lion; national colors: red, black, yellow
National anthem:
name: "La Brabanconne" (The Song of Brabant)
lyrics/music: Louis-Alexandre DECHET[French] Victor CEULEMANS [Dutch]/Francois VAN CAMPENHOUT
note: adopted 1830; according to legend, Louis-Alexandre DECHET, an actor at the theater in which the revolution against the Netherlands began, wrote the lyrics with a group of young people in a Brussels cafe

Economy

Economy - overview:
Belgium’s central geographic location and highly developed transport network have helped develop a well-diversified economy, with a broad mix of transport, services, manufacturing, and high tech. Service and high-tech industries are concentrated in the northern Flanders region while the southern region of Wallonia is home to industries like coal and steel manufacturing. Belgium is completely reliant on foreign sources of fossil fuels, and the planned closure of its seven nuclear plants by 2025 should increase its dependence on foreign energy. Its role as a regional logistical hub makes its economy vulnerable to shifts in foreign demand, particularly with EU trading partners. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries, and the port of Zeebrugge conducts almost half its trade with the United Kingdom alone, leaving Belgium’s economy vulnerable to the outcome of negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU.
Belgium’s GDP grew by 1.7% in 2017 and the budget deficit was 1.5% of GDP. Unemployment stood at 7.3%, however the unemployment rate is lower in Flanders than Wallonia, 4.4% compared to 9.4%, because of industrial differences between the regions. The economy largely recovered from the March 2016 terrorist attacks that mainly impacted the Brussels region tourist and hospitality industry. Prime Minister Charles MICHEL's center-right government has pledged to further reduce the deficit in response to EU pressure to decrease Belgium's high public debt of about 104% of GDP, but such efforts could also dampen economic growth. In addition to restrained public spending, low wage growth and higher inflation promise to curtail a more robust recovery in private consumption.
The government has pledged to pursue a reform program to improve Belgium’s competitiveness, including changes to labor market rules and welfare benefits. These changes have generally made Belgian wages more competitive regionally, but risk worsening tensions with trade unions and triggering extended strikes. In 2017, Belgium approved a tax reform plan to ease corporate rates from 33% to 29% by 2018 and down to 25% by 2020. The tax plan also included benefits for innovation and SMEs, intended to spur competitiveness and private investment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$526.4 billion (2017 est.)
$517.9 billion (2016 est.)
$511.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 38
GDP (official exchange rate):
$491.7 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.6% (2017 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$46,300 (2017 est.)
$45,800 (2016 est.)
$45,500 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 35
Gross national saving:
23.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
22.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 50.8%
government consumption: 23.3%
investment in fixed capital: 23%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 87.7%
imports of goods and services: -85.3% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 21.8%
services: 77.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products:
sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Industries:
engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate:
1.5% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Labor force:
5.324 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 18.6%
services: 80.1% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.5% (2017 est.)
7.9% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
Population below poverty line:
15.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 28.4% (2006 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
25.9 (2013 est.)
28.7 (1996 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
Budget:
revenues: $249.7 billion
expenditures: $260 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
50.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
Public debt:
104.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
106% of GDP (2017 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; general government debt is defined by the Maastricht definition and calculated by the National Bank of Belgium as consolidated gross debt; the debt is defined in European Regulation EC479/2009 concerning the implementation of the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Maastricht) of 7 February 1992; the sub-sectors of consolidated gross debt are: federal government, communities and regions, local government, and social security funds
country comparison to the world: 16
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Central bank discount rate:
0.25% (31 December 2017 est.)
0.3% (31 December 2010 est.)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
country comparison to the world: 140
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
2% (31 December 2017 est.)
2.01% (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Stock of narrow money:
$238 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$198 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
country comparison to the world: 22
Stock of broad money:
$601.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$525.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Stock of domestic credit:
$783.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$684.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$414.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$378.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$374.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Current account balance:
$-1.47 billion (2017 est.)
$-1.849 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
Exports:
$309.1 billion (2017 est.)
$277.7 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
Exports - commodities:
chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Germany 16.7%, France 15.4%, Netherlands 11.2%, UK 8.9%, US 5.8%, Italy 5.2% (2016)
Imports:
$306.1 billion (2017 est.)
$271.2 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
Imports - commodities:
raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partners:
Netherlands 16.1%, Germany 13.6%, France 9.5%, US 8.1%, UK 4.8%, Ireland 4.5%, China 4.3% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$23.57 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$24.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
Debt - external:
$1.281 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.214 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$1.093 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.054 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.035 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.016 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.89 (2017 est.)
0.9 (2016 est.)
0.92 (2015 est.)
0.89 (2014 est.)
0.76 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access:
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
Electricity - production:
64.78 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
Electricity - consumption:
81.96 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
Electricity - exports:
8.465 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Electricity - imports:
14.65 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
21.15 million kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
34.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
28% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
0.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
32.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
Crude oil - imports:
639,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
Refined petroleum products - production:
701,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
662,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
Refined petroleum products - exports:
597,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Refined petroleum products - imports:
585,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
Natural gas - consumption:
23.01 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
Natural gas - exports:
1.694 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Natural gas - imports:
18.81 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
93.62 million Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 4,371,055
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 12,550,821
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
Telephone system:
general assessment: highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities
domestic: nationwide mobile-cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 32; landing point for a number of submarine cables that provide links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat - 3) (2015)
Broadcast media:
a segmented market with the three major communities (Flemish, French, and German-speaking) each having responsibility for their own broadcast media; multiple TV channels exist for each community; additionally, in excess of 90% of households are connected to cable and can access broadcasts of TV stations from neighboring countries; each community has a public radio network coexisting with private broadcasters (2009)
Internet country code:
.be
Internet users:
total: 9,870,734
percent of population: 86.5% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48

Transportation

National air transport system:
number of registered air carriers: 7
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 117
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 11,193,023
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,464,316,900 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
OO (2016)
Airports:
41 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 102
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 8 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 15
under 914 m: 15 (2013)
Heliports:
1 (2013)
Pipelines:
gas 3,139 km; oil 154 km; refined products 535 km (2013)
Railways:
total: 3,592 km
standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
country comparison to the world: 53
Roadways:
total: 154,012 km
paved: 120,514 km (includes 1,756 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,498 km (2010)
country comparison to the world: 33
Waterways:
2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 41
Merchant marine:
total: 185
by type: bulk carrier 15, general cargo 15, oil tanker 20, other 135 (2017)
country comparison to the world: 66
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Oostende, Zeebrugge
river port(s): Antwerp, Gent (Schelde River); Brussels (Senne River); Liege (Meuse River)
container port(s) (TEUs): Antwerp (9,654,000), Zeebrugge (1,569,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Zeebrugge

Military & Security

Military expenditures:
0.9% of GDP (2017)
0.87% of GDP (2016)
0.93% of GDP (2015)
0.97% of GDP (2014)
1.01% of GDP (2013)
country comparison to the world: 127
Military branches:
Belgian Armed Forces: Land Operations Command, Naval Operations Command, Air Operations Command (2012)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1994 (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
none
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 9,080 (Syria) (2016)
stateless persons: 2,630 (2016)
Illicit drugs:
growing producer of synthetic drugs and cannabis; transit point for US-bound ecstasy; source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for cocaine, heroin, hashish, and marijuana entering Western Europe; despite a strengthening of legislation, the country remains vulnerable to money laundering related to narcotics, automobiles, alcohol, and tobacco; significant domestic consumption of ecstasy

Economic Indicators for Belgium including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Belgium economy.