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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Belgium Economy

Belgium    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: This modern private enterprise economy has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. Industry is concentrated mainly in the populous Flemish area in the north, although the government is encouraging investment in the southern region of Wallonia. With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets. About three-quarters of its trade is with other EU countries. Belgium's public debt is expected to fall below 100% of GDP in 2002, and the government has succeeded in balancing is budget. Belgium became a charter member of the European Monetary Union (EMU) in January 1999. Economic growth in 2000 was broad based, putting the government in a good position to pursue its energy market liberalization policies and planned tax cuts.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $259.2 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.1% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $25,300 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  1.4%

industry:  26%

services:  72.6% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line: 4%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  3.7%

highest 10%:  20.2% (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 4.34 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation: services 73%, industry 25%, agriculture 2% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate: 8.4% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues:  $114.8 billion

expenditures:  $117 billion, including capital expenditures of $7.6 billion (1999)
Industries: engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, processed food and beverages, chemicals, basic metals, textiles, glass, petroleum, coal
Industrial production growth rate: 5.5% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 79.829 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  40.01%

hydro:  0.42%

nuclear:  58.33%

other:  1.24% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 75.089 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 8.207 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 9.055 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Exports: $181.4 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, diamonds, metals and metal products
Exports - partners: EU 76% (Germany 18%, France 18%, Netherlands 12%, UK 10%) (1999)
Imports: $166 billion (c.i.f., 2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals and metal products
Imports - partners: EU 71% (Germany 18%, Netherlands 17%, France 14%, UK 9%) (1999)
Debt - external: $28.3 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $764 million (1997)
Currency: Belgian franc (BEF); euro (EUR)

note:  on 1 January 1999, the EU introduced the euro as a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in Belgium at a fixed rate of 40.3399 Belgian francs per euro and will replace the local currency for all transactions in 2002
Currency code: BEF; EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 1.0659 (January 2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Belgian francs per US dollar - 34.77 (January 1999), 36.229 (1998), 35.774 (1997), 30.962 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year


Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook

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