Belgian Economy Could Shrink 8% In 2020 Due to Coronavirus Measures

The Belgian economy could contract by 8% this year due to measures to contain the coronavirus before a sharp rebound in 2021, the country’s central bank and national planning agency said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. That rebound could be as much as 8.6%, although the bank and agency said their figures should be seen as a broad macroeconomic “scenario” rather than a firm granular forecast and that they were based on a number of conditions, with risks. The bank and agency estimated an increase in Belgium’s budget deficit to 7.5% of gross domestic product and its debt to 115% of GDP in 2020. The central bank previously forecast deficit and debt figures of respectively 2% and 99.2%. One condition is that current restrictions last seven weeks. A partial lockdown, which began on March 14, is due to last five weeks until April 19, although the government has said it could be extended a further two weeks until May 3. Read more