Things seem to be lining up for Belgium: business confidence is up, the economy is growing this year and it’s forecast for more growth in 2010. But the country’s exchange traded fund (ETF) faces challenges in the coming year in order to keep things moving in the right direction.

Belgium’s economy grew by 0.5 % in the third quarter of 2009, in line with a quick estimate released in October. This provided enough optimism to leave the previous forecast of 1% growth in 2010 in place. Interactive Investor says that the Belgium Central Bank raised its forecasts for economic growth in this year and the next. [Belgium’s ETF in 2010.]

Belgium business confidence hit a 15-month high in December, even as the manufacturing sector fell. According to Reuters, the decline in manufacturing sentiment was not a concern, given its strong uptrend in the past couple of months, suggesting a promising recovery into the start of next year, so say analysts. [Why Belgium may see growth sooner than later.]

The European Central Bank is therefore in no need to begin a tightening cycle, as the inflationary pressures are not imminent. iMarket News reports that the ECB held its official refinancing rate at 1%, but said it would start to withdraw some of the cheap emergency funding operations  it had implemented to boost liquidity in the banking sector. The bank stressed that this was not to be taken as a rate hike signal. [How European ETFs are coping.]

For more stories about Belgium, visit our Belgium category.

  • iShares MSCI Belgium Index (NYSEArca: EWK): up 52% year-to-date

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.