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Belgium’s consumer confidence increased at a record pace in May ahead of the news of the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown measures for the summer, survey data from the National Bank of Belgium showed Friday.

The consumer confidence indicator climbed to 4 from -6 in April. The 10-point jump was the fastest monthly increase ever recorded for the index, the bank said.

The latest survey was carried out from May 3 to 17 and the recovery of confidence was already evident before the May 11 announcement of measures relaxing the lockdown for the summer.

The strong improvement was driven by the sharply regained optimism about trends in unemployment over the coming twelve months and, to a slightly lesser extent, by the brighter outlook for the general economic situation in Belgium, the bank said.

Households’ fears of future unemployment eased and the relevant index dropped sharply to 21 from 43.

The index reflecting households’ expectations on the national economy for the next 12 months jumped to 9 from -2.

Their expectations regarding their future financial outlook dimmed and the corresponding index dropped to 1 from 2.

Meanwhile, the index measuring future savings intentions rose to 25 from 20.


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