Belgium


Belgium Country Report: GDP data and GDP forecasts; economic, financial and trade information; the best banks in Belgium; country and population overview

DATA ON GDP AND ECONOMIC INFORMATION
Central bank National Bank of Belgium
Belgium is part of the Eurosystem and the European Central Bank
International Reserves US$ 29.114 billion (Source: IMF; Data updated: 2012)
Gross Domestic Product - GDP US$ 496.767 billion (2011 estimate)
GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) 418.608 billion of International dollars (2011 estimate)
Real GDP growth
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
0.7% 1.4% 0.8% 3.1% 2% 2.7% 2.8% 1%
2009 2010 2011 2012*
-2.8% 2.3% 1.9% 0%

*Estimate

GDP per capita - current prices US$ 45,089 (2011 estimate)
GDP per capita - PPP $37,995 International Dollars (2011 estimate)
GDP (PPP) - share of world total
1980 1990 2000 2010 2015**
0.85% 0.76% 0.66% 0.53% 0.46%

**Forecast

GDP - composition by sector
  • agriculture: 0.7% 
  • industry: 21.6% 
  • services: 77.7% (2011 estimate)
  • (Data released on February 2012)

Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (% of GDP) 1.99% (2010)

(Data released on March 2012)

Inflation
2009 2010 2011 2012*
0%(2008) 2.3% 3.5% 2.4%

*Estimate

Unemployment rate
2009 2010 2011 2012*
7.9% 8.3% 7.2%(2009) 8%

*Estimate

Household saving rates 11.1% (Net saving; 2012 forecast)

(Data released on December 2011)

Public debt (General government gross debt as a % of GDP)
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012*
89.3% 95.9% 96.2% 98.5% 99.1%

*Estimate

Public deficit (General government net lending/borrowing as a % of GDP)
2008 2009 2010 2011* 2012**
-1.3% -5.9% -4.2% -4.2% -2.9%

*Estimate    **Forecast

Government bond ratings

Standard & Poor's: AA

Moody's rating: Aa3

Moody's outlook: NEG

(Foreign Currency Government Bond Ratings; Data last updated Dec 2011 and Nov 2012)

Market value of publicly traded shares
2009 2010 2011
US$261.4 billion US$269.3 billion US$229.9 billion
Largest companies in Belgium Anheuser-Busch InBev (Beverages), Solvay (Diversified Chemicals), Ageas (Diversified Insurance), Umicore (Diversified Metals & Mining), Delhaize Group (Food Retail), Colruyt (Food Retail), KBC Group (Major Banks), Dexia (Major Banks), Banque Nationale Belgique (Major Banks), UCB (Pharmaceuticals), D'Ieteren (Specialty Stores), Belgacom (Telecommunications services) (2012)
DATA ON TRADE AND COMPETITIVENESS
Current account balance US$ -1.4 billion (2011 estimate)(After 2008)
Current account balance by percentage of GDP -0.3% of GDP (2011 estimate)(2009)
Exports as percent of GDP

(Exports of goods and services)

80% (2010)

(Data released on April 2012)

Shares in world total merchandising export 2.61%(2007)

(Data were released in 2012 and refer to 2011)

Shares in world total commercial services export 2.1% (2011)(2007)

(Data were released in 2012)

Total exports US$314.6 billion (2012 estimate) 
Export commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Total imports US$325.2 billion (2012 estimate) 
Import commodities raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Exports - major partners Germany 18.7%, France 16.9%, Netherlands 12.5%, UK 7.2%, Italy 4.6%, US 4.5% (2011)
Imports - major partners Netherlands 19.9%, Germany 14.8%, France 10.7%, UK 6%, US 5.3%, Ireland 4.5%, China 4.2% (2011)
FDI inflows
2009 2010 2011
US$61,744 million US$81,190 million(2009) US$89,142 million(2009)
FDI outflows
2009 2010 2011
US$9,205 million US$55,709 million US$70,706 million
Value of cross-border M&A, by country of purchaser
2008 2009 2010 2011
US$30,146 million US$-9,638 million(2009) US$222 million(2009) US$7,757 million
Cross-border M&A deals worth over $3 billion completed in 2010

(Acquiring company, Acquired company, Country of the acquired company, Value of the deal)

N/A

(for a monthly update on M&A click here )

Cross-border M&A deals worth over $3 billion completed in 2011

(Acquiring company, Acquired company, Country of the acquired company, Value of the deal)

Solvay SA, Rhodia SA, France, $4.6 billion(2008 estimate)

(for a monthly update on M&A click here )

Best countries for doing business

World Bank/IFC Doing Business Project

(Economies are ranked on their ease of doing business, from 1 - 185. A high ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.)

Overall ranking: 33 out of 185 countries(2009) (2013)

Subcategories:

Starting a business: 44 out of 185 countries(2009)

Enforcing Contracts: 18 out of 185 countries

Registering Property: 176 out of 185 countries

Getting credit: 70 out of 185 countries

Protecting investors: 19 out of 185 countries

Trading across border: 29 out of 185 countries

Paying Taxes: 75 out of 185 countries

Dealing with Construction Permits: 57 out of 185 countries

Getting Electricity: 82 out of 185 countries

Resolving Insolvency: 7 out of 185 countries

(2013)

Global competitiveness ranking
(ranking by country on a basis of 144, the first is the best)
17

(2012)

Index of Economic Freedom

WSJ and Heritage Foundation

Ranking: 38 Score: 69.0 (Moderately Free) (2009)

(100=totally free 0=totally repressed )

COUNTRY AND POPULATION OVERVIEW
Time zone UTC+1
Total area 30,528 km2 (2006)
Capital Brussels (2009)
Currency euros (EUR) (2009)
Government type federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy (2009)
Languages Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%, legally bilingual (Dutch and French)
Religions Roman Catholic 75%, other (includes Protestant) 25%
Total population
1980 1990 2000 2012* 2017**
9.86 million 9.98 million 10.26 million 11.04 million 11.48 million

*Estimate    **Forecast

Urban population as % of total population
1960 1980 2000 2011
92.5% 95.4% 97.1% 97.5%
Population median age 41 years (2010)
Population growth rate 1% (2011)
Life expectancy 80 years (2010)
Adult literacy N/A
% of population living on less than $2 a day N/A
Inequality of wealth distribution (Gini index)

32.97 (2000)

(Data were released in 2011, 0=perfect equality, 100=absolute inequality)

Freedom House rating

Political Rights:1
Civil Liberties:1 (2011)

(1 represents the most free, 7 the least free)

Total telephone subscribers as % of population

159.67% (2011)

(sum of fixed telephone lines and mobile cellular subscribers)

Internet users as % of total population 78% (Data were released in 2012 and refer to 2011)
Cost of living - Mercer index

(ranking by city on a basis of 214; the 1st is the most expensive and the 214th is the least expensive)

Brussels: 62nd (2011)

CO2 emissions
(Metric tons of CO2 per capita)

9.7171 (Data were released in 2012 and refer to 2009)

GLOBAL FINANCE RANKINGS AND AWARDS

WORLD'S BEST TREASURY & CASH MANAGEMENT BANKS & PROVIDERS

2013:
  • Best Treasury Management Systems & Services Providers/Multichannel Payments Services/Solutions Clear2Pay (Global, 2013)

WORLD'S BEST TRADE FINANCE BANKS & PROVIDERS

2013:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS BNP Paribas Fortis (National, 2013)
2012:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC (2012)
2011:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC (National, 2011)
2010:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC (National, 2010)
2009:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC (National, 2009)

WORLD'S BEST DEVELOPED MARKET BANKS

(ranking of the 50 safest banks in the world; the first is the safest)
2012:
  • KBC (National, 2012)
2011:
  • KBC (National, 2011)
2010:
  • ING (National, 2010)
2009:
  • KBC Group (National, 2009)

WORLD'S BEST INTERNET BANKS

2012:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS / Best Corporate / Institutional Internet Banks Citi (Global, 2012)
2010:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS / Best Corporate / Institutional Internet Banks Citi (National, 2010)
2009:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS / Best Corporate / Institutional Internet Banks Citi (National, 2009)

WORLD'S BEST SUB CUSTODIANS

2012:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS BNP Paribas (National, 2012)
2011:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS BNP Paribas (Global, 2011)
2010:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS ING (National, 2010)
2009:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC Securities (National, 2009)

WORLD'S BEST INVESTMENT BANKS

2013:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS Barclays (National, 2013)

CENTRAL BANKER REPORT CARD

2010:

WORLD'S BIGGEST BANKS

2012:
  • OVERALL BIGGEST Dexia (National, 2012)
2011:
  • OVERALL BIGGEST Dexia (National, 2011)
2010:
  • OVERALL BIGGEST Dexia (National, 2010)
  • OVERALL BIGGEST Fortis Bank (National, 2010)

WORLD'S BEST FOREIGN EXCHANGE PROVIDERS

2013:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC (National, 2013)
2012:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS BNP Paribas Fortis (National, 2012)
2011:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS BNP Paribas Fortis (National, 2011)
2010:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC Bank (National, 2010)
2009:
  • COUNTRY WINNERS KBC Bank (National, 2009)
ARTICLES AND COUNTRIES REPORTS FROM GLOBAL FINANCE ARCHIVE