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Economy in Brief

Belgium Bank Index Weakens Again
by Robert Brusca December 20, 2007

…points lower for E-zone readings to come.

The Belgian National bank releases its barometer indices ahead of the EU each month. The Belgian indices turn out to be harbingers of the EU releases to come. While Belgium is a small European country it is right in the middle of the Zone and its trends in commerce tend to mimic those of the Zone itself and of Germany. In December the rise in the total industry index has given way to drop a decline. MFG has posted larger drop. The wholesale/retail sector reading is suddenly sharply lower. It would be a very bad sign if the EU and German indices were turn as sharply as the Belgian sector index has. Construction also has turned negative after posting a reasonably strong reading for two months in a row.

Belgium National Bank Indices
  Dec-07 Nov-07 Oct-07 3-Mo Change 6-Mo Change 12-Mo Change
Total Industry -1.9 1.4 -0.1 -3.4 -7.4 -4.4
Manufacturing -1.8 -0.5 -1.8 -3.2 -8.3 -4.2
Production 4.0 1.0 -1.0 4.0 -4.0 3.0
Domestic Orders -4.0 6.0 -3.0 -1.0 -9.0 -7.0
Foreign Orders 4.0 2.0 3.0 -4.0 -7.0 -1.0
Prices -1.0 2.0 3.0 -4.0 -14.0 -12.0
Current assessments
Total Orders -3.0 -4.0 -6.0 -1.0 -6.0 -7.0
Foreign Orders -3.0 -5.0 -5.0 -4.0 -7.0 -3.0
Inventories 6.0 5.0 2.0 7.0 13.0 5.0
Wholesales & Retail -3.3 8.2 6.7 -3.3 -7.5 -1.3
Construction -0.7 3.7 1.0 -4.1 -3.0 -8.4
Business Services #N/A 12.8 12.8 #N/A #N/A #N/A
Comparisons:   Changes lag one month  
EU Index: Industry #N/A 3.0 2.0 -2.0 -2.0 -3.0
Germany Index: Industry #N/A 3.0 3.0 -5.0 -5.0 -8.0
Compare: BNB Index -- -- -- -1.9 -2.8 -2.1
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