"Economic growth was stronger than we had envisaged. We see that growth is being underpinned by dynamics within the country and in rich in job creation”.
One of the things Mr Smets points to as a force behind the positive figures is the tax shift.
Growth in 2016 was 1.5%. The National Bank predicts 1.6% growth in 2019, this is up from a prediction of 1.5% 6 months ago.
Growth is predicted to remain constant over the coming years before tailing off.
69,000 new job this year
Growth is translating into new jobs. Over the past year there was a net gain of 69,000 jobs in Belgium.
It is predicted that next year the net increase will be around 54,000 jobs.
The National Bank believes that between 2014 and 2020 the net growth in jobs will be 309,000, of which 190,000 will have been created between 2014 and 2017.
Finally, the National Bank expects the budget deficit this year to be 1.2%. This is well down on its previous forecast of 2%.