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Belgian Business Confidence Unexpectedly Drops to 3-Year Low

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Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Belgian business confidence unexpectedly fell to the lowest in three years in October, led by deteriorating sentiment in the manufacturing and building industries.

The confidence index for Belgium dropped to minus 13.5 from minus 11.6 in September, the Brussels-based National Bank of Belgium said today in a statement. That’s the lowest since October 2009. Economists had predicted an increase to minus 11 this month, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

In the manufacturing industry, “assessment of total order books has worsened,” the central bank said in the report. “The economic climate in the building industry continues to show a zig-zag pattern, alternating between losses and revivals of optimism.”

Confidence also declined in the areas of trade and business-related services, according to the report.

Business sentiment in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and one of Belgium’s main trading partners, is forecast to increase in October after declining for five straight months, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. The Ifo institute will release its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Munich.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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