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Belgian Business Confidence Gauge Falls Unexpectedly in April

Belgian business confidence dropped unexpectedly in April, led by deteriorating sentiment in manufacturing and services.

The confidence index for Belgium fell to minus 10.7 from minus 9.6 in March, the Brussels-based National Bank of Belgium said today in an e-mailed statement. Economists projected an improvement to minus 9.1, the median of 16 forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

“As was the case last month, business confidence weakened in the manufacturing industry,” the central bank said. “After a rebound in March, the economic climate in business-related services has also deteriorated. However, after having declined for two and three months respectively, the building industry and, more explicitly, trade have recovered in April.”

Picanol NV, a Belgian maker of weaving machines, earlier this month forecast a drop in first-half revenue and said the outlook for the second half “remains highly uncertain” because of “very limited visibility” in the markets in which it operates.

Belgian consumer confidence stabilized in April after the steepest recovery in eight years a month earlier as households became more positive about the economic outlook.

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