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Belgium revises 2013 growth forecast to zero

10 December 2012, 17:48 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Belgium's central bank issued on Monday a flat 2013 growth forecast, in marked contrast to the most recent European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections.

Long seen as a strong indicator for neighbouring northern eurozone economies, Belgian growth "is expected to be zero in 2013, after having contracted by 0.2 percent in 2012," the National Bank of Belgium said.

Growth was only expected to return to positive territory in the second quarter of 2013, the bank added.

It had previously tipped 1.3 percent growth in 2013, while the European Commission most recently forceast 0.7 percent and the IMF 0.3 percent.

The central bank forecast a contraction for 2012 as a whole of 0.2 percent, with consequent difficulties in meeting a public deficit target of 2.15 percent of gross domestic product next year.

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