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The National Bank of Belgium, Research Department’s new business survey indicator

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Author Info

  • I. De Greef

    (National Bank of Belgium, Statistics Department)

  • C. Van Nieuwenhuyze

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

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    Abstract

    The business survey indicator is one of the most valuable statistics that the Bank publishes every month. Its reputation is due to the reliability it has demonstrated over several decades in reflecting the pattern of economic activity in the country and in the euro area every month. The indicator is compiled on the basis of the responses to the monthly business survey that the Bank has arranged with enterprises in Belgium since 1954. Almost twenty years after the last methodological revision of the indicator in 1990, the Bank decided that it was now desirable to review its method of calculation again. This article presents the key characteristics of the business survey indicator, its practical applications and the new method of calculation applied since April 2009. This methodological revision gradually became necessary owing to the extension of the survey in 1994 to business-related services, the results of which were not included in the general business survey indicator until this methodological change. The old business survey indicator had also exhibited some undesirable short-term fluctuations. The methodological changes have been kept to a minimum and only concern the calculation of the synthetic curves, with an amended selection of questions that are included in the synthetic curves for each industry and by incorporating the business-related services curve into the overall synthetic business indicator. These changes aim to strengthen the correlation between the indicator and GDP growth, to reduce the undesirable short-term volatility and to maintain its early response.

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    File URL: http://www.nbb.be/doc/oc/repec/ecrart/revecoII2009E_H2.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by National Bank of Belgium in its journal Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): (2009)
    Issue (Month): II (June)
    Pages: 31-51

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    Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2009:m:june:i:ii:p:31-51

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    Related research

    Keywords: business cycle; business survey; leading indicator; correlation; GDP;

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