Belgian business confidence lowest since at least 1980

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Belgian central bank's monthly confidence index fell in December to minus 31.3 points.

BRUSSELS - Belgian business leaders' confidence in the economic outlook fell this month to the lowest level in at least 28 years, according to a survey on Monday seen as a bellweather for the eurozone.

The Belgian central bank's monthly confidence index fell in December to minus 31.3 points from minus 23.7 points in November, tumbling to the lowest level since the survey began in its current form in 1980.

The slump was particularly marked in the manufacturing sector, where the confidence index plunged to minus 36.5 points from minus 27.1 points while the construction and retail sectors saw more modest declines.

Although Belgium is only a small part of the eurozone, economists closely watch the survey for trends in the broader 15-nation eurozone because the country's economy trades heavily with the rest of the bloc.

(AFP/Expatica)

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