Press releases & articles (319)


  • Belgian economic growth to amount to 1.2% in 2016 ( 11/02/2016 )

    In accordance with the Law of 21 December 1994, the National Accounts Institute has transmitted the figures for the economic budget to the Minister for Economy. These macroeconomic forecasts are produced within the framework of the budget control for 2016 and take into account the government measures in the context of the preparation of the federal budget and the tax shift as well as the measures by the other levels of government.


  • Belgian economic growth should amount to 1.2% in 2015 and to 1.3% in 2016 ( 09/09/2015 )

    In accordance with the Law of 21 December 1994, the National Accounts Institute has transmitted the figures of the economic budget to the Minister for Economy. These macroeconomic forecasts are produced within the framework of the preparation of the federal budget for 2016. These forecasts do not take into account the government measures announced in July in the context of the preparation of the federal budget and the tax shift. This also holds for the VAT rate hike on electricity for domestic use from September onwards as this measure is part of a global agreement, the modalities of which were not available in time for integration into these forecasts.

  • Decomposition of the hourly wage cost rise in Belgium 2000-2010 ( 01/04/2015 )

    This paper presents a shift-share decomposition applied to industry-level data to identify contributions to the rise in the hourly wage cost in Belgium between 2000 and 2010. According to the results, individual wage increases account for the largest part of the economy- wide hourly wage cost increase (87%). The contribution of changes in the gender, age and skill structure of industry-level employment amounts to 16%, while changes in the industry composition of hours worked even have a negative effect on the hourly wage cost (-3%).

  • Short Term Update 04-14 : Special Topic - Domestic demand patterns in Belgium since the mid-nineties: more French than German? ( 07/01/2015 )

    In a previous Special Topic (see STU 4-11), we examined the performance of Belgian GDP relative to its three main trading partners since the onset of the financial crisis. This time we put recent domestic demand patterns into perspective by comparing, over a longer period, the evolution of private consumption and business investment in Belgium to those in France and Germany. In addition to the purely descriptive analysis, we also try to identify, through the estimation of co-integrating equations, the underlying factors behind the developments of both demand components under scrutiny. We investigate in particular two sub-periods: the decade preceding the financial crisis (1998-2007) and the following five years (2008-2012).

  • Public support for R&D and the educational mix of R&D employees ( 07/01/2015 )

    This Working Paper assesses the impact of public support for R&D activities on the educational mix of R&D employees in private companies in Belgium. Estimations show that some tax incentives significantly raise the share of researchers holding a PhD. There are indications that holders of PhDs substitute for R&D employees with a lower education degree. It is also shown that controlling for changes in the educational mix of R&D personnel lowers estimates of the impact of public support on the average wages of researchers.

  • A methodology for household projections: the HPROM model (Household PROjection Model) ( 07/01/2015 )

    This Working Paper presents the methodology the Federal Planning Bureau has currently developed to draw up long-term Belgian household projections. This methodology allows detailed projections of the number of households (at the district level) by household type according to living arrangements and not legal situation. Thus, the projections include the different forms of living arrangements, such as cohabitation, single-parent families, single households ("one person"), etc. They also guarantee coherence with the national population projections, which have been published by the Federal Planning Bureau and Statistics Belgium for several years and are based on the so-called component method.


  • STU 03-14 : Special topic - Belgium’s performance in terms of security of energy supply: trends to 2050 ( 20/10/2014 )

    Energy holds an important place in our economies. It is a production factor for the manufacturing industry as well as a key element in our everyday life. It is essential to evaluate a country’s energy dependence and its potential vulnerability to energy supply disruptions or energy price shocks because this may translate into losses in competitiveness and growth. For a country like Belgium, this type of evaluation is even more crucial because the Belgian ground does not contain any indigenous fossil fuel resource, the potential of renewable energy sources is relatively limited and nuclear energy is being phased out. In order to assess Member States’ energy dependence, the European Commission designed a set of energy dependence indicators and looked at their evolution over recent years. Looking at the past is relevant and interesting but appraising future trends brings an extra dimension to the issue. This is all the more so since the EU has set ambitious energy and climate policies, which call for significant structural changes in the energy system. The recent FPB publication Belgium Energy Trends to 2050 provides the material to compare and gauge past and future trends of some energy dependence indicators. The results of this side analysis are summarised below.

  • When the lights go out: the monetary impact of a large scale blackout in Belgium ( 19/08/2014 )

    The power landscape is growing ever more complex due to, among other things, legislation and targets defined at several levels which tend to influence (and sometimes contradict) one another. One can wonder if the different economic agents can still see the wood for the trees and if the lights will stay on all the time. The first in line to worry is the federal government, since it carries the responsibility of permanently guaranteeing the security of supply. In times of increased electricity production by variable energy sources 1 (solar PV, wind) and of distorted investment signals, how to guarantee security of supply is not obvious. The absence of investment in sufficient reserve capacity and – in the worst case scenario – inadequacy of generation capacity may lead to soaring societal costs. This Working Paper focuses on the specific event of things going wrong in spite of all initiatives and mechanisms put in place: a national blackout paralyzing the entire Belgian economy for one hour and its price tag are scrutinised.

  • Macrosectoral analysis of the impact of a VAT increase ( 19/08/2014 )

    This study was commissioned by the Central Economic Council (CEC), and in particular by the ‘Construction’ Special Advisory Commission. It presents the sectoral results of a report that was produced in 2011 by the National Bank of Belgium and the Federal Planning Bureau. As requested by the CEC, we comment here in detail on the impact of a VAT increase without additional measures, (variant 1) and the impact of a VAT increase with transitional neutralization of the effect of that increase on indexation (variant 2).

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