In-depth country-focused analysis on Belgium's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight


Our comprehensive assessment of Belgium's operating environment and the outlook for its leading sectors are formed by bringing together a wealth of data on global markets that affect Belgium, as well as the latest industry developments that could impact Belgium's industries. This unique integrated approach has given us an impeccable track-record for predicting important shifts in the markets, ensuring you’re aware of the latest market opportunities and risks in Belgium before your competitors.

Country Risk

Belgium Country Risk

BMI View:

Core Views

  • Belgian economic growth will be steady, if unspectacular, in the years ahead.

  • Although the country's economy will be primary driven by private consumption, the short-term impact of labour market reforms will drag on growth.

  • Over the longer-term, these reforms are necessary to improve labour market competitiveness and boost economic growth.

  • The Belgian government will struggle to develop adequate responses to elevated security threats, rising Flemish nationalism, and the threat of another economic downturn given the country's dire fiscal dynamics.

Major Forecast Changes

  • We have revised down our real GDP forecasts to 1.4% in both 2016 and 2017, from forecasts of 1.6% for both years...

Belgium Industry Coverage (19)


Belgium Autos

BMI View:

BMI View: We expect an improving business environment to lend support to both passenger car and commercial vehicle sales in 2016. We are targeting 3% sales growth for the Belgian new vehicle sales market in 2016.

Passenger Car And Light Commercial Vehicle Sales
f = BMI forecast. Source: FEBIAC, BMI

Key Views

  • Commercial vehicles are outperforming cars as the Belgian economy regains strength.

  • New model launches from leading players are bolstering...

Freight Transport

Belgium Freight Transport

BMI View:

BMI View: Belgium's freight transport sector will continue to grow in 2016 as the domestic and wider economic climate is strengthening, improving trade and consumer demand. Real GDP growth is forecast at 1.6% in 2016, up from the previous estimate of 1.3%. Air freight will witness the sharpest increase, due to an increase in output in the pharmaceutical sector as well as from demand for high value consumer goods. Road and rail freight will also have steady growth due to small increases in heavy industry output. Road freight will continue to dominate the freight sector in Belgium given the established nature of the freight mode with developed highways and trans-border connectivity.

Belgium will see steady economic recovery over the medium term, benefiting the freight sector. We expect real GDP growth to be 1.3% in 2016 and forecast that the economy will expand by an annual average of 1.5...


Belgium Infrastructure

BMI View:

BMI View: Belgium is home to a diverse construction sector, and its position as a regional transport hub with an open financial market means that industry fundamentals are strong. We forecast steady growth in Belgium's construction sector over the medium term, supported by a number of energy and transport projects which are planned and under way. As a mature market, where public investment is restricted by ongoing government austerity measures, there are relatively few large-scale public infrastructure projects in the pipeline, leaving growth largely dependent upon the use of public-private partnerships and regional funding.



Belgium Insurance

BMI View:

BMI View: Belgium's insurance market is mature and with the limited medium term economic growth prospects, we see only moderate potential for an uptick in life and non life insurance premiums. Moreover the large number of well established companies already in situ leaves little room for new players and we do not view the country as one of the more attractive expansion propositions in the region.

Headline Insurance Forecasts (Belgium 2012-2019)
Indicator 2012 2013 2014e...

Medical Devices

Belgium Medical Devices

BMI View:

BMI View : The Belgian medical device market continues to perform better than average for the region, but we anticipate a slower rate of growth than in previous years. The health sector is set for a further period on austerity following the government's decision to cut the growth target for health insurance spending from 3.0% to 1.5% in 2015 and to just 0.75% in 2016. At the same time, the rising health needs of the expanding elderly population and the drive to improve the care of patients with chronic conditions will continue to drive a steady expansion of the medical device market.

Projected Medical Device Market, 2014-2019
Total (USDmn) ...


Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Tin prices will be capped by US dollar strength in 2016, leading us to trim our price forecast to USD14,500/tonne. Beyond 2016, prices will recover gradually as the global tin market posts sustained market deficits and inventories dwindle.

Global - Tin Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI view: We have revised our aluminium price forecast from USD1,575/tonne to USD1,600/tonne in 2016, as the tightening market provided an earlier than expected floor in Q116. Aluminium prices will gradually edge higher as the global market moves into a deficit by 2018.

Global - Aluminium Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Globally, iron ore prices will remain subdued due to weak demand growth in China and expanding output by major miners in Australia and Brazil. China will see output slow as the country's iron ore miners operate on the higher end of the global iron ore cost curve.

Global Iron Ore Forecast
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Nickel prices will bottom in 2016 as weak production drags the global market into deficit. For instance, we expect Chinese imports of nickel to grow over the coming quarters. Prices will begin 2016 weaker than we had previously expected and we have thus revised down our 2016 average price forecast to USD9,000/tonne from USD10,500/tonne.

Global Nickel Forecasts
2013 2014 2015e

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We have revised down our average copper price forecast for 2016 to USD4,900/tonne. We expect prices to find a floor over the first half of 2016, and begin to stabilise thereafter, supported by production cuts and modest consumption growth.

Global - Copper Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f ...

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Gold prices will prove resilient in 2016 due to a dovish shift in global monetary policy and elevated systemic financial sector risks. However, we do not foresee a sustained multi-year recovery and the mining sector will thus remain under significant stress. We forecast slowing mine production growth and increasing consolidation.

BMI Gold Forecasts
2014 2015 2016f 2017f ...

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Global steel prices will remain subdued due to a persistent steel oversupply over the coming quarters. From 2017 onwards, steel prices will gradually edge higher as the global steel surplus will narrow due to Chinese supply moderation.

Steel Price Forecast
2014 2015 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f...

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: We maintain our average zinc price forecast for 2016 of USD1,750/tonne. We expect zinc prices to reach a floor over the first half of 2016, and begin to stabilise thereafter, as production cuts shift the market to a deficit.

Global - Zinc Supply, Demand & Price Forecasts
2014 2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f

Belgium Metals

BMI View:

BMI View: Lead prices will gradually edge higher as the global lead market will shift into deficit by 2017 as production growth will slow over the coming years.

BMI Lead Price Forecast
Current* 2016f 2017f 2018f 2019f 2020f

Oil & Gas

Belgium Oil & Gas

BMI View:

BMI View: With no upstream prospects, Belgium will remain heavily reliant on imported supplies of both liquids and gas. Natural gas consumption will be weak due growing nuclear and renewable generation in the power sector. Meanwhile, the refining sector will perform well as efficiency improvements and low oil prices increase the competitiveness of its downstream facilities.

Headline Forecasts (Belgium 2013-2019)
2013 ...


Belgium Petrochemicals

BMI View:

Belgium's export sector has traditionally been dominated by relatively low technology goods supplying downstream processors in Germany and elsewhere. However, increased investment throughout the value chain, particularly in products utilised by the automotive industry, will improve the external competitiveness of the petrochemicals sector. The Belgian petrochemicals industry has managed to buck the trend in Western Europe with a rise in capacities in some segments.

Chemicals output declined 0.4% y-o-y in the first eight months of 2015, putting the sector on course for a fourth year of recession. Meanwhile, rubber production rose just 0.8%, although this came after a robust performance in recent years. Plastic output grew 3.1%, a rate of growth was more than double the level achieved in 2014 and considerably better than previous years.

Evonik's addition of 100,000tpa of butadiene...

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Belgium Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

BMI View:

BMI View : Belgium offers a stable pharmaceutical market with high per capita spending on medicines. However, drugmakers will increasingly find the government less willing to reimburse expensive, innovative medicines as it struggles to hit its fiscal targets.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: From EUR5.84bn (USD6.47bn) in 2015 to EUR5.89bn (USD6.30bn) in 2016; +0.9% in local currency terms and -2.6% in US dollar terms.

  • Healthcare: From EUR44.96bn (USD49.87bn) in 2015 to EUR46.13bn (USD49.36bn) 2016; +2.6% in local currency terms and -1.0% in US dollar terms.

Headline Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare...


Belgium Power

BMI View:

BMI View: As nuclear capacity is decommissioned throughout our 10-year forecast period, Belgium will become increasingly reliant on electricity imports. Despite strong growth being evident in non-hydropower renewable capacity, this will not be enough to cover the deficit left by nuclear power. Construction of an interconnection line with the UK will help facilitate the necessary imports.

Headline Power Forecasts (Belgium 2015-2021)
2015e 2016f 2017f ...


Belgium Telecommunications

BMI View:

BMI View: Belgian operators are looking to upgrade and upsell new services to their customers, recognising that widening is over and that deepening must become a core strategy. Convergent and 4G services have driven the market in 2015, but there remain some strong opportunities as many users are still on basic services, whether DSL or mobile-voice only. The lack of fibre will hinder the fixed broadband market in the long run, but the regulator must implement local loop unbundling to ensure stronger competition in the market, especially if the Telenet/BASE deal is approved by EU regulators.

Improving Uptake Of The Most Advanced Services
Very High-Speed Broadband (LHC, %), 2012-2014 And 3/4G Subscribers (RHC), 2014

Latest Belgium Articles

  • The global iron ore market will stay in surplus over our forecast period to...

  • Record profits achieved in 2015 were due, in no small part, to the performa...

  • Belgium will remain a net importer of electricity throughout our 10-year fo...

Latest Belgium Blogs

Latest Belgium Podcasts

  • Europe's 20-year telecoms competition initiative has benefited million...

  • The operating environment for energy firms in the European Union is ex...


Download PDF

By submitting this form you are acknowledging that you have read and understood our Privacy Policy.

Thank you for your interest

You will shortly receive your free executive summary by email.