Belgium



Flags of All Countries

Belgium Economy 2008


Economy - overview: This modern, private-enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. Roughly three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Public debt is more than 85% of GDP. On the positive side, the government has succeeded in balancing its budget, and income distribution is relatively equal. Belgium began circulating the euro currency in January 2002. Economic growth in 2001-03 dropped sharply because of the global economic slowdown, with moderate recovery in 2004-07. Economic growth and foreign direct investment are expected to slow down in 2008, due to credit tightening, falling consumer and business confidence, and above average inflation. However, with the successful negotiation of the 2008 budget and devolution of power within the government, political tensions seem to be easing and could lead to an improvement in the economic outlook for 2008.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $376.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $453.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $36,200 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.1% industry: 24.5% services: 74.4% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 4.94 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2% industry: 25% services: 73% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.5% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.4% highest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 28 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed): 21.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $220.1 billion expenditures: $221 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 84.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.8% (2007 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 6.98% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: NA note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the Euro Area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 15 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
Stock of quasi money: NA
Stock of domestic credit: $767.7 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Industries: engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate: 2.8% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 82.94 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 85.54 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports: 9.035 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports: 15.78 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production: 8,671 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 628,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports: 528,700 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports: 1.119 million bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 17.39 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 17.34 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006)
Current account balance: $3.282 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $322.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partners: Germany 19.5%, France 16.7%, Netherlands 11.9%, UK 7.6%, US 5.7%, Italy 5.2% (2007)
Imports: $323.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partners: Germany 17.7%, Netherlands 17.6%, France 11.2%, UK 6.2%, US 5.4%, Ireland 4.9%, China 4.1% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $16.51 billion (2007 est.)
Debt - external: $1.313 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $678.2 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $540.1 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $422.7 billion (2006)
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
Exchange rates: euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)

NOTE: The economy information regarding Belgium on this page is re-published from the 2008 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belgium Economy 2008 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belgium Economy 2008 should be addressed to the CIA.