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Belgium expecting solid economic growth

7 July 2006

BRUSSELS — Belgium is set to record solid economic growth this year, according to forecasts published by various specialists on Thursday.

The Institute for Economic and Social Research at UCL has forecast a growth rate of 2.8 percent for 2006, newspaper L’Echo reported.

The National Bank of Belgium is forecasting growth of 2.5 percent, while banks KBC and ING are expecting growth of 2.4 percent.

The UCL research institute cited stabilising oil prices and the strength of the euro against the US dollar to underpin its forecast. Such factors will lead to a fall in inflation.

But it also issued a warning over employment rates, predicting that companies will need to limit increases in employment, at least in the short-term.

ING has forecast that 40,000 jobs will be created in 2006, while the UCL institute has predicted the creation of 46,000 jobs.

However, the workforce is expected to increase at a similar rate and the number of unemployed job seekers will only fall by about 5,000.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news