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Belgium Business Confidence Rebounds In January

Belgium's business confidence rose in January, after declining slightly in the previous month, survey data from the National Bank of Belgium showed on Friday.

The business confidence index climbed to -5.6 from -6.4 in December. Economists were looking for a score of -5.7.

Significant improvement was witnessed in morale in the trade sector, with the corresponding index surging to -0.3 from -6.3. Demand forecasts showed the strongest advance among all components, the survey said.

In manufacturing, sentiment improved with the relevant measure adding 1.5 points to reach -6.2. The improvement was driven by favorable assessment of order books and a revival of demand expectations.

Confidence weakened in business services sector and the index fell to 4 from 6.5. This was due to less positive expectations regarding general market demand and business activity.

In the building industry, the confidence weakened for a second straight month and the indicator dropped to -14.3 from -13.5. The weakness was attributed to both the unfavorable development and the levels of order books.

The capacity utilization rate in manufacturing rose to 79 percent from 77.1 percent, marking a third successive increase in the use of production capacity.

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