Belgium’s business confidence plummeted to a record low in April, led by the business services sector and retail trade, as business managers grew concerned over the economic impact of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic, survey data from the National Bank of Belgium showed on Friday.
The business confidence index dropped to -36 from -10.9 in March. Economists had forecast a score of -21.
The sentiment index for the business services sector slumped to -62.1 from -22. Businesses were severely pessimistic regarding the recent trends and in their assessment of the current situation.
In the construction sector, the index reflecting morale fell to -23.2 from 1.7. Constructors were downbeat regarding order books and equipment.
In the trade sector, the confidence index plunged to -41.6 from -11.7. Retailers were largely concerned about the outlook for demand.
The manufacturing confidence index slid to -32.6 from -11.2. Factories were worried about the employment prospects.
The quarterly survey on manufacturing production capacity showed that the capacity utilization rate fell to 73 percent in April, which is the lowest level since the end of 2009. In January, the rate was 78.6 percent.
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