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Belgian Business Confidence Drops as Sentiment on Trade Plunges

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Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Belgian business confidence declined in August as trade sentiment plunged to the lowest since March.

The confidence index for Belgium fell to minus 11.8 from minus 11.3 in July, the Brussels-based National Bank of Belgium said in a statement today. Economists had predicted a decline to minus 12 in August, according to the median of 10 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

“Confidence dropped the most sharply in the trade sector, following four months of increasing optimism,” the central bank said in the report. “Traders are expecting demand to fall back and are likely to sharply cut back their orders from suppliers.”

Today’s data add to signs that Belgium’s economy, which contracted 0.6 percent in the second quarter, is sliding into a recession along with the euro area as a whole. Consumer confidence in Belgium fell in August to the lowest level since February amid mounting concerns over the economic outlook and joblessness, which households expect will reduce their capacity to save.

The Ifo institute in Munich releases its August report on business confidence in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, on Aug. 27.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Henry in Brussels at phenry8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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