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The Federal Planning Bureau has developed within the Nowcasting project a dynamic microsimulation model for nowcasting and medium-term forecasts (currently up to 2020) of indicators of poverty and social exclusion. Key messages of this project are that nowcasting and medium-term forecasting are now possible using a fully dynamic microsimulation model. The provisional results of the model suggest that the overall poverty risk would remain stable, but that of the 65+ subpopulation would decrease over time, while that of the younger population would show a small increase. Furthermore, the increase of overall ine-quality would come to a halt and the level of inequality would become more stable. Finally, the very low work intensity rate would continue its decrease, driven by the continuing increase of the employment rate among the working-age population.
This report constitutes a contribution to the preparation of the new Stability Programme and the new National Reform Programme. It includes the main results of the preliminary version of the “2018-2023 Economic Outlook” to be published in June 2018.
This working paper provides an update of a study from 2007 in which the accuracy of the medium-term outlooks for the Belgian economy is assessed. The study is expanded with nine additional editions of the Economic Outlook covering a mixture of pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis periods.
In the framework of the Act of 28 February 2014 on the National Accounts Institute the Scientific Committee for the economic budget has taken note of this study and has issued an opinion on it.
The Federal Planning Bureau is responsible, within the National Accounts Institute, for producing the macroeconomic forecasts that are used to set up the federal government budget. This working paper presents an update of the ex post assessment of the quality of these forecasts. Compared to the previous working paper devoted to this topic, the sample has been extended by six additional years and the number of evaluated variables has been increased, in particular with series at current prices. Moreover, this paper also examines to what extent the observed forecast errors are due to errors made on exogenous assumptions related to the international environment.
This report is an input to the preparation of the new Stability Programme and of the new National Reform Programme (NRP). It presents the assumptions and the main results of the preliminary version of the “Economic Outlook 2017-2022”. The final version of the outlook will be published in June 2017.
This report is an input to the preparation of the new Stability Programme and of the new National Reform Programme. It presents the key assumptions and the main results of the preliminary version of the “Economic Outlook 2016-2021”. The final version of the outlook will be published in May 2016.
Compilation of the different presentations held at the presentation of the “Medium-term economic outlook 2014-2019” at the Central Economic Council on 25 June 2014.
The Federal Planning Bureau’s new outlook for the world economy presents projection results for the main economic areas of the world over the period 2012-2020. The projection assumes a stable institutional framework in the European Union and the absence of any balance sheet consolidation that would be severe enough to have lasting effects on GDP growth rates. In such a framework, the projection for the euro area indicates that moderate growth in final domestic demand and positive real net exports should generate moderate real GDP growth over the period 2012-2020. Output growth should be strong enough to outpace the rise in potential output, thus closing the area’s output gap by 2017. The closing of the output gap would be accompanied by a decline in the area’s unemployment rate, which should fall back to its pre-crisis level. At the same time, consumer price inflation should pick up, reaching by 2020 a level compatible with the European Central Bank’s inflation target. The budgetary consolidation measures that are assumed in the projection should lead to primary surpluses that would allow for a decline in the area’s gross public sector debt-to-GDP ratio.
The Federal Planning Bureau is responsible, within the National Accounts Institute, for producing the macroeconomic forecasts that are used to set up the federal government budget. This working paper presents an update of the ex post assessment of the quality of these forecasts. Compared to the previous working papers devoted to this topic, the analysis is extended in several ways. Firstly, the number of variables examined is markedly increased, as is the number of statistical tests. Secondly, an evaluation of the quality of the quarterly forecasts is presented for the first time. In addition, this information is used to calculate the probability distribution of these forecasts and to construct a so‐called "fan chart".
At the time of writing, and although certain segments of financial markets do not yet seem to have returned to their normal, pre‐global financial crisis, functioning, it appears that the wide‐spread and massive policy initiatives of the past year have managed to avert any systemic financial meltdown and limit the depth of the world‐wide recession. Indeed, monetary policy, financial policy, the fiscal stimulus plans that began to be implemented in 2009 and the simultaneous boost from countries’ automatic fiscal stabilisers, all managed to limit the scale of the downturn in real GDP and employment levels. The downturn is also thought to have been limited in OECD countries due to the unexpected resilience of GDP growth in emerging market economies such as China, Brazil and India, who helped to prop up OECD activity by helping to contain the decline in world trade.
In early 2010, policy has remained supportive on all fronts, fiscal, monetary and financial. However, with respect to fiscal policy in particular, after the massive public interventions of 2009, the time has come to look at the effects that these initiatives have had, both in terms of their support to the economy, but also in terms of their effects on countries’ budget deficits and debts and the exit strategies. A difficult balance must be struck between the necessary continued public support for the economy as long as output gaps and unemployment rates remain high, and the medium‐run adjustments to public deficit and debt trajectories.
The current scenario is one where governments withdraw public support from the economy gradually without compromising the recovery. Over the medium term, public deficits do not explode. Real GDP growth picks up as the private sector begins to drive the recovery. In the euro area, we see the emergence of structural current account surpluses. In the United States, there is low inflation and a rebalancing of the current account deficit. In Japan, unfavourable demographic trends lead to low GDP growth; furthermore, the country is projected to continue down a path of deflation throughout the projection period.
This study is devoted to the analysis of the main effects, on the Belgian economy, of various forms of tax shifting aimed at increasing taxes on energy and decreasing other taxes
(mainly taxes on labour). Results show that, if the increase in energy taxes is combined with a reduction of taxes on labour, a double dividend (rise in employment and decrease in energy consumption and CO2 emissions) can be obtained.
Every three years, each EU member state is required to set out its political priorities related to economic growth and job creation in a so-called National Reform Programme ( NRP ). Gauged by the latest medium-term economic outlook produced by the Federal Planning Bureau, compliance with the main macroeconomic objectives contained in the Belgian NRP will still require sizable efforts, especially regarding the labour market. Furthermore, our analysis shows that reducing social security contributions in order to lower the tax wedge on labour as foreseen in the NRP , is efficient in increasing the employment rate, especially when targeted at low wage earners, but also that such policies have a negative effect on the objectives related to public finances and CO 2 emissions.
The Federal Planning Bureau has been publishing medium-term macroeconomic projections for the Belgian economy since the beginning of the eighties. In this working paper past projection errors are scrutinised to give users a broad idea of the uncertainties surrounding these projections. The analysis reveals that projections for most of the macro-economic variables show no statistically significant bias with the notable exception of the evolution of exports and labour productivity which was clearly overestimated, while labour force growth was systematically underestimated. Examination of the role played by the main exogenous variables shows the importance of potential export markets in explaining projection errors on GDP and components. However, losses in export market shares were underestimated in most economic outlooks. Concerning the labour force, the origin of the projection error changed over time: attributable almost exclusively to errors in the average participation rate at the beginning of the sample, from 1997 onwards the relative contribution of errors on working-age population increased gradually.
In network industries the market reform that is being pursued by national and supranational authorities should lead to an improvement of efficiency, which spills over into a beneficial macroeconomic impact. This paper presents two alternative simulations of the potential impact in Belgium. These simulations give very different outcomes, but are still complementary. A macroeconometric approach seems to be more realistic in the short and mid term because it has been built up from observed behavioural relationships. A general-equilibrium approach gives rise to drawing some lessons about the conditions that make the impact more pronounced in the long term.
This paper describes the operating mode of the two existing Belgian fiscal councils as well as their role in the budgetary planning process. These institutions, created or reformed in depth in a context of large public deficits and increasing public debt-to-GDP ratios coupled with the regionalization of the Belgian state, are the result of a maturing process. The National Accounts Institute covers the positive side of the budgetary process, while the High Council of Finance deals with the normative side. Concerning the former domain, the creation of an independent institution to provide unbiased forecasts undeniably contributed to the consolidation of public finances in Belgium. In the context of the revised Stability and Growth Pact, lessons drawn from the Belgian experience can certainly be useful for other Member States willing to improve their fiscal institutional settings. Our chief recommendations for making the budgetary process successful are: institutions dealing with positive economics should enjoy a fully independent status but remain public; positive and normative issues should be completely separated from an institutional point of view; and responsibility should be shared between several strong independent institutions so as to minimize political pressure.
This Working Paper presents a medium-term macroeconomic outlook for the major economic areas of the world. The outlook was prepared using nime, the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau’s (fpb) macroeconometric world model. The Working Paper also features an assessment of the euro area’s progress towards the European Union’s Lisbon goals for growth and employment, a brief description of the nime model and an appendix outlining the major technical assumptions of this outlook.
This Working Paper presents a medium-term macro-economic outlook for the major economic areas of the world. The outlook is produced using nime, the Belgian Federal Planning Bureau’s macro-econometric world model. The Working Paper also features an assessment of the effects of a permanent 25 percent increase in the price of oil, a description of the nime model, and an appendix outlining the major technical assumptions of the outlook.