Economy of Belgium

Economy - overview
This modern, open, and private-enterprise-based economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. With few natural resources, Belgium imports substantial quantities of raw materials and exports a large volume of manufactures, making its economy vulnerable to volatility in world markets. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries, and Belgium has benefited most from its proximity to Germany. In 2011 Belgian GDP grew by 2.0%, the unemployment rate decreased slightly to 7.7% from 8.3% the previous year, and the government reduced the budget deficit from a peak of 6% of GDP in 2009 to 4.2% in 2011. Despite the relative improvement in Belgium's budget deficit, public debt hovers near 100% of GDP, a factor that has contributed to investor perceptions that the country is increasingly vulnerable to spillover from the euro-zone crisis. Belgian banks were severely affected by the international financial crisis in 2008 with three major banks receiving capital injections from the government, and the nationalization of the Belgian arm of a Franco-Belgian bank. An ageing population and rising social expenditures are mid- to long-term challenges to public finances.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$418.6 billion (2011 est.)
$401.7 billion (2009 est.)
data are in 2011 US dollars
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GDP (official exchange rate)
$513.4 billion (2011 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
1.9% (2011 est.)
-2.8% (2009 est.)
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GDP - per capita (PPP)
$38,200 (2011 est.)
$37,400 (2009 est.)
data are in 2011 US dollars
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GDP - composition by sector
agriculture:
0.7%
industry:
21.7%
services:
77.6% (2011 est.)
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Labor force
5.177 million (2011 est.)
rank:
73
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture:
2%
industry:
25%
services:
73% (2007 est.)
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Unemployment rate
7.7% (2011 est.)
8.3% (2010 est.)
Population below poverty line
15.2% (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)
28.7 (1996)
Investment (gross fixed)
20.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
rank:
87
Budget
revenues:
$249.6 billion
expenditures:
$271.2 billion (2011 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
48.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
rank:
23
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-4.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
rank:
136
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Public debt
99.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
96.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment. Debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions.
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
3.5% (2011 est.)
2.3% (2010 est.)
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Central bank discount rate
1.75% (31 December 2011)
1.75% (31 December 2010)
this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate
4.4% (31 December 2011 est.)
4.21% (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$170.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$175.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
Stock of broad money
$562.7 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$548.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$576.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$555.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$229.9 billion (31 December 2011)
$261.4 billion (31 December 2009)
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
5.6% (2011 est.)
rank:
59
Electricity - production
84.2 billion kWh (2009 est.)
rank:
35
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Electricity - consumption
84.78 billion kWh (2008 est.)
rank:
35
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Electricity - exports
11.32 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - imports
1.837 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Oil - production
11,220 bbl/day (2010 est.)
rank:
84
Oil - consumption
622,600 bbl/day (2010 est.)
rank:
28
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Oil - exports
353,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
rank:
38
Oil - imports
1.007 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
rank:
15
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
rank:
106
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
151
Natural gas - consumption
19.53 billion cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
36
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
60
Natural gas - imports
19.32 billion cu m (2010 est.)
rank:
16
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
rank:
150
Current account balance
-$4.2 billion (2011 est.)
$6.351 billion (2010 est.)
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Exports
$344.9 billion (2011 est.)
$279.7 billion (2010 est.)
Exports - commodities
machinery and equipment, chemicals, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partners
Germany 18.7%, France 16.9%, Netherlands 12.5%, UK 7.2%, Italy 4.6%, US 4.5% (2011)
Imports
$355.1 billion (2011 est.)
$284.4 billion (2010 est.)
Imports - commodities
raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partners
Netherlands 19.9%, Germany 14.8%, France 10.7%, UK 6%, US 5.3%, Ireland 4.5%, China 4.2% (2011)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$29.43 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$26.81 billion
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Debt - external
$1.399 trillion (30 June 2011)
$1.241 trillion (30 June 2010)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$1.068 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$988.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$943.5 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$868.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Exchange rates
0.7345 (2007 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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