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Belgium ‘heading for inflation’

Published on 04/03/2005

4 March 2005

BRUSSELS – Belgian consumer prices are expected to rise a greater than expected 2.2% this year amid high petrol rises and an appreciating euro, the International Monetary Fund has projected.

The IMF had previously estimated a 1.6% rise this year. At the same time, it revised downward its forecast for Belgian gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 2.2% this year from its previous forecast last autumn of 2.3%.

It left its 2005 unemployment rate projection unchanged at 8.2% of the active population.

The IMF invited the Belgian government to make new “budgetary adjustments” in light of rising costs of an ageing population.

At the same time, the organisation said it was essential to have a “much stronger” employment rate to support economic growth and “budgetary consolidation.”

It encouraged Belgium towards reform of salaries and trade union agreements.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject : Belgian news