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.
Belgium Country Risk
Belgium's economic recovery is beginning to gain momentum. Growth in 2016 will be stronger than the previous year and in line with the broader eurozone.
Government contribution's to real GDP growth will be negligible in the coming years, as the Belgian authorities remain committed to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio
A weaker euro combined with quickening growth and domestic demand in the eurozone will provide a moderate boost to Belgium's exporters...
Belgium Industry Coverage (11)
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|
Commercial vehicles are outperforming cars as the Belgian economy regains strength.
New model launches from leading players are bolstering...
Belgium Freight Transport
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...
BMI View: Belgium has a relatively diverse construction sector, with a number of power, transport, residential and social infrastructure projects contributing to slow and steady growth in construction industry value over our ten-year forecast period. While ongoing government austerity measures will restrict public spending on various infrastructure projects, the widespread use of public-private partnerships continues to generate investment opportunities and Belgium is also the recipient of extensive regional funding, particularly for power and transport projects, which will help to ensure growth is...
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.
Belgium Medical Devices
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.
BMI View: Belgium's steel sector is starting to enter a period of relative stability. Having witnessed significant decline over recent years, we are now beginning to see production levels stabilising due to gradually improving consumption levels and the diminished output capacity of producers.
As we move into 2015, there are increasing signs that the depression in Belgian steel production has bottomed out. Total output grew by 4.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) during the first eight months of 2014 to September, with full year growth estimated at 3.6%. With production forecast to average just over 1% a year over 2015-2018, we expect output to have found a stable footing following periods of sharp contraction, intermingled with sharp rebounds over the past few years.
Oil & Gas
Belgium Oil & Gas
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.
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 : Governments in developed states such as Belgium will need to work to maintain the countries' long-term attractiveness as sites for clinical trials, especially as the cost of conducting clinical research is forecast to rise. An increasing number of clinical trials are being conducted in emerging markets, mainly due to lower costs. The attractiveness of these non-traditional destinations is boosted by improving healthcare infrastructure, more and better trained medical professionals, and a growing requirement for local trials in the pharmaceutical approval process. Despite this, we note that the majority of clinical trials will continue to take place in developed countries.
Headline Expenditure Projections
Pharmaceuticals: From EUR5.83bn (USD7.81bn) in...
BMI View: Belgium will become increasingly reliant on electricity imports due to the decommissioning of its nuclear reactors. Only non-hydropower renewable power will experience any growth throughout our forecast period, which will not be enough to cover the gap in electricity generation. A well developed grid infrastructure and interconnections will ensure Belgium will still be able to import the deficit from neighbouring countries.
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|