by Maria Martinez
Business confidence in Belgium fell again in November, falling for the seventh straight month, amid higher energy prices and weaker demand.
The National Bank of Belgium reported on Thursday that its business confidence index fell to negative 16.6 in November from negative 15.5 in October. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the indicator to be negative 14.0.
The deterioration in business conditions was most acute in the services sector, the report showed. Business leaders expressed significantly more negative assessments of their activity levels. The services sector index fell to -10.7 in November from -2.7 in the previous month.
On the trade front, less optimistic employment expectations largely contributed to the drop in confidence to -24.5 in November from -23.5 in October. On the other hand, the report said demand expectations were better than last month.
Demand expectations in manufacturing also improved. The sector’s indicator edged down to -20.1 in November from -19.7 in the previous month.
The business climate index improved only in the construction sector, which rose to -4.6 in November from -7.4 in October.
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