By Maria Martinez
Belgium business sentiment slumped in March, showing the biggest monthly drop ever recorded in the history of the indicator, in line with sharp declines in business confidence in other eurozone countries amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Business confidence in Belgium dropped to minus 10.9 in March from minus 2.7 in February, the National Bank of Belgium said Wednesday. The outcome is above economists' consensus forecast of minus 20.0 in a survey by The Wall Street Journal.
Despite the sharp drop of 8.2 points, the National Bank of Belgium says the March indicator doesn't yet fully reflect the deterioration of business sentiment, as survey replies were received from March 2 to 24 and some replies were therefore drafted before the latest confinement measures that came into force on 18 March.
All sectors have been affected, with business services paying the highest price, the national bank said.
The decline in the mood in Belgium follows the strongest fall in the Ifo business confidence index since German reunification, to 86.1 points in March, below the 87.7 points of the preliminary estimate published last Thursday.
Investors will now look ahead to Thursday's release of France's monthly business survey.
Write to Maria Martinez at email@example.com