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Developments in private consumption over the past three years

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  • V. Baugnet

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • L. Dresse

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

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    Abstract

    Belgium weathered the 2008-2009 recession relatively well compared to the euro area as a whole and most of its constituent economies. In that context, the article sheds light on the interactions between the general economic situation and private consumption during the recession and in the recent recovery phase. As is generally the case during recessions, private consumption expenditure tended to decline to a lesser degree than general economic activity in Belgium in 2008-2009. The fall in private consumption expenditure turned out to be rather limited, especially when one considers the then plummeting economic activity. The two main avenues through which the crisis affected consumer spending were the erosion of people’s financial assets, and a considerable rise in uncertainty in late 2008 and early 2009. However, these effects faded away during the course of 2009. The resilience of private consumption in Belgium – which is also noticeable when compared internationally – can be related to the resilience of employment, which supported households’ disposable income. In addition, the sound situation of households and firms and the absence of great structural imbalances prior to the crisis supported general economic activity. In the future, maintaining an economic context free of serious imbalances, including a sustainable path for public finances, is crucial to favour a steady development of private consumption, contributing to balanced economic growth, income generation and job creation.

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    File URL: http://www.nbb.be/doc/oc/repec/ecrart/ecorevII2011_H3.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): (2011)
    Issue (Month): II (September)
    Pages: 47-58

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    Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2011:m:september:i:ii:p:47-58

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    Keywords: Private consumption; households; wealth effect; savings rate;

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