Belgian business confidence dropped for a fourth consecutive month in July and declined more than economists forecast as executives in the manufacturing industry signaled a contraction of output amid falling demand.
The confidence index for Belgium fell to minus 2.5 from minus 1.1 in June, the National Bank of Belgium in Brussels said today in an e-mailed statement. Economists expected a drop to minus 2.1, the median of 11 forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.
“The economic downturn in the manufacturing industry, observed since the second quarter of this year, has led to a drop in the production capacity utilization rate, the first for two years,” the central bank said in the statement. “The business climate also weakened in the building industry and in the trade sector.”
A sub-index assessing the production rate in the manufacturing industry tumbled to minus 14.6, the lowest reading in more than two years, from 10.4 in June. The capacity utilization rate dropped to less than 80 percent for the first time since the fourth quarter of last year. A gauge of demand expectations in the construction industry declined to minus 3.6, the lowest value in 11 months.
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