Belgium Economy: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

Belgium Economy

Belgium Economy: A summary of information about Belgium Economy, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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Belgium: Economy

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, although the government is encouraging investment in the
southern region of Wallonia. 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. About three-quarters of its trade is with
other EU countries. Belgium's public debt fell from 127% of GDP in
1996 to 122% of GDP in 1998 and the government is trying to control
its expenditures to bring the figure more into line with other
industrialized countries. Belgium became a charter member of the
European Monetary Union (EMU) in January 1999. The dioxin crisis -
beginning in June 1999 with the discovery of a cancer-causing
substance in animal feed - constituted a serious blow to the
food-processing industry, both domestically and internationally. This
crisis slowed down GDP growth with recovery expected in the year 2000.
GDP
purchasing power parity - $243.4 billion (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
1.8% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita
purchasing power parity - $23,900 (1999 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 27%
services: 71.6% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line
4%
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 3.7%
highest 10%: 20.2% (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
1% (1999 est.)
Labor force
4.341 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation
services 73%, industry 25%, agriculture
2% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate
9% (1999 est.)
Budget
revenues: $116.5 billion
expenditures: $119 billion, including capital expenditures of $10.7
billion (1998 est.)
Industries
engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly,
processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles,
glass, petroleum, coal
Industrial production growth rate
-1% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production
78.702 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source
fossil fuel: 42.48%
hydro: 0.49%
nuclear: 55.72%
other: 1.31% (1998)
Electricity - consumption
74.543 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - exports
6.4 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports
7.75 billion kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products
sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain,
tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Exports
$187.3 billion (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports - commodities
machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds,
metals and metal products
Exports - partners
EU 76% (Germany 19%, France 18%, Netherlands 12%,
UK 10%) (1998)
Imports
$172.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals and
metal products
Imports - partners
EU 71% (Germany 18%, Netherlands 17%, France 14%,
UK 9%) (1998)
Debt - external
$28.3 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid - donor
ODA, $764 million (1997)
Currency
1 Belgian franc (BF) = 100 centimes
Exchange rates
euros per US$1 - 0.9867 (January 2000), 0.9386 (1999);
Belgian francs (BF) per US$1 - 34.77 (January 1999), 36.229 (1998),
35.774 (1997), 30.962 (1996), 29.480 (1995)
note: on 1 January 1999, the EU introduced a common currency that is
now being used by financial institutions in some member countries at a
fixed rate of 40.3399 Belgian francs per euro; the euro will replace
the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in
2002
Fiscal year
calendar year
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