National Bank remains optimistic despite fall in economic growth

The National Bank of Belgium says that the Belgian economy will grew less this year than had been initially predicted. The bank now predicts that our country’s economy will grow by 1.5% this year. Despite the National Bank having revised down its growth predictions, the bank’s Governor Jan Smeets says that the situation is returning to normal and that there is no question of an economic slowdown.  

The figure of 1.5% is lower than was initially predicted. However, the National Bank still believes in what it describes as stable expansion.

“If the economy is growing less quickly now, we consider this to be a return to normal after last year’s strong growth. Pressure is slowly building on the labour market that can act as a brake on production”, Mr Smets told VRT News.  

The Governor of the National Bank says that the rest of the Eurozone is in the same boat. An extra 97,000 jobs are expected to be created with unemployment in Belgium as a whole expected to fall to 7%.  

“7% is from an historical perspective very low, but really it is still too high. We need to carry on with structural reforms if we are to get unemployment down still further”.  

“A lot has already happened, such as the reform of the pensions system and the tax shift, but we need to continue surfing on this wave and make the labour market even more dynamic.

Meanwhile, Mr Smeets describes to raising of the level of import tariff by the United States as being “bad for the world economy as a whole and bad for individual economies”.