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Belgium Consumer Confidence Weakens Sharply

Belgium's consumer confidence deteriorated sharply in March as the economic situation got worse as activity was hampered by the spread of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, and households' fears of unemployment surged.

The consumer confidence index dropped to -9 from -4 in February, survey data from the National Bank of Belgium showed. This was the first weakening in the index in three months.

The consumer confidence indicator is the averaged sentiment measured during a survey period of two successive weeks within a month, which runs this month from March 2 to 16. Therefore, it does not yet reflect the full impact of the measures adopted by the government to combat the coronavirus, the bank said.

At the end of the survey period, the confidence indicator deteriorated sharply and in the three last days, consumer confidence reached a level close to the historical low of -28, the bank said.

The sub-index reflecting unemployment fears shot up to 16 from 6 and the measures mirroring households' expectation of the economic situation in next 12 months tumbled plummeted to -28 from -17.

The index for financial expectations in next 12 months fell to 1 from 3. The savings expectations sub-index climbed to 8 from 6.

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