Is life in Belgium really getting more expensive? "It's probably just temporary"

It is not just an impression: life in Belgium is getting more expensive. The inflation rate in Belgium is going up. It's especially fuel, electricity, gas and house prices which are having a big impact. However, experts think it is only a temporary rise as the economy is recovering from the corona crisis. 

The inflation rate, which indicates at which rate life is getting more expensive, remained relatively stable last year during the pandemic. This year however, inflation has gone up fast. In June, it stood at 1.63 percent, compared to 0.26 percent in January. 

Many things - but not everything - have become more expensive. The price of natural gas and electricity, an important one for every household, has gone up 25 and 10 percent respectively compared to the same period last year. Fuel prices follow the same trend: both diesel and gasoline are some 16 percent up compared to one year ago. 

A visit to a café or restaurant will set you back 3.4 percent more on average. Tobacco (+8.3%), banking services (+12%) and postal services (+18%) are also contributing to the higher inflation. And the big demand triggered a price hike for both new and second-hand cars.  

Raw materials in the construction sector have doubled or even tripled, which makes renovating or building a new house a lot more costly. Meanwhile, house prices keep increasing.  

The good news is that cost of food, household products, clothing and many health products has hardly gone up or remained stable. 

The price hikes are mostly due to a big demand as western Europe is recovering from the worst of the corona pandemic. 

Experts think it will be mostly a temporary effect which will ease by the end of the year. "Many people are renovating their houses now using the money they didn't spend during the corona pandemic. If you are thinking of investing cash in your house, it's better to wait until next year, when demand and supply should get back to normal", experts say. 

Meanwhile, there is good news for Belgian consumers: as the inflation is going up, the automatic wage indexation system in Belgium will be activated - wages, pensions and social benefits automatically go up if inflation rates are going up. This is expected to happen in one of the coming months, after which wages can increase with 2 percent. 

Wages and benefits are bound to go up in the following months

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