IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Energy markets and the macroeconomy

Listed author(s):
  • V. Baugnet

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

  • D. Dury

    (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)

Registered author(s):

    The article looks at the energy markets from a macroeconomic perspective. It first describes the main trends in the production and consumption of energy. Belgium is characterised by a high degree of energy dependency, since it no longer has any fossil fuel resources and renewable energy is not yet well developed in the country. Moreover, its economy has a high energy intensity, due to specialisation in energy-intensive sectors and high consumption of energy products by Belgian households. The operation of the energy markets and the implications for the pricing of energy products is examined in a second part. The pass-through of fluctuations in the price of crude oil onto consumer prices of petrol, diesel and heating oil is both fast and full, in Belgium as well as in the neighbouring countries. However, because of the low level of excise duty on diesel and particularly on heating oil, consumer prices charged for these energy products in Belgium are more sensitive to fluctuations in the crude oil price. Also, the Belgian consumer price of gas and electricity reacts much faster than in neighbouring countries to fluctuations in prices on the international markets, since in other euro area countries, prices are adjusted less frequently than in Belgium and in some cases they are still subject to some form of regulation. More generally, despite liberalisation, the effective degree of competition on the gas and electricity markets is still very low, both in Belgium and in the other euro area countries. Finally, the impact of fluctuations in crude oil prices on inflation and economic activity is discussed. In addition to its high energy intensity and strong reactions of its energy consumer prices to oil price fluctuations, the Belgian economy’s sensitivity to oil shocks is heightened by the indexation mechanism it applies, even though the use of the health index partly neutralises the initial shock. However, that additional negative impact can be curbed by constant monitoring of Belgian competitiveness, as prescribed by a 1996 law on the promotion of employment and the safeguarding of competitiveness.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

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

    Volume (Year): (2010)
    Issue (Month): ii (September)
    Pages: 61-82

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2010:m:september:i:ii:p:61-82
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Boulevard de Berlaimont 14, B-1000 Bruxelles

    Phone: (+ 32) (0) 2 221 25 34
    Fax: (+ 32) (0) 2 221 31 62
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Meyler, Aidan, 2009. "The pass through of oil prices into euro area consumer liquid fuel prices in an environment of high and volatile oil prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 867-881, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbb:ecrart:y:2010:m:september:i:ii:p:61-82. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.