A companion document to the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual, the Balance of Payments Compilation Guide shows how the conceptual framework described in the Manual may be implemented in practice. The primary purpose of the Guide is to provide practical guidance for using sources and methods to compile statistics on the balance of payments and the international investment position. the Guide is designed to assist balance of payments compilers and statisticians in understanding the relative strengths and weaknesses of various approaches. The material reflects the emergence of new data sources and adaptations in the application of statistical methodologies to changing circumstances. Discussed in the Guide are all of the tasks that a BOP compiler normally performs. Appendices contain a set of model BOP questionnaires and a set of model BOP publication tables. Relationships between the balance of payments statistics and relevant aspects of national accounts are covered as well.
This 2011 Article IV Consultation reports that the vulnerability of Belgium’s sovereign debt to market pressures makes credible medium-term fiscal consolidation a priority. The 2012 budget includes sizable consolidation measures, and the government is committed to take additional measures as needed with the aim of reaching structural balance by 2015. In light of the weak growth prospects, automatic stabilizers should be allowed to operate freely around the consolidation path. There is a need to strengthen banking supervision and to implement the Basel III and Solvency II regulatory frameworks.
The Belgian economy showed considerable progress through 2011 in terms of both growth and employment. However, the 2013 Article IV Consultation underlines that the European recession has had a negative impact on its economy, giving rise to unemployment. The economy has entered its second year of near zero growth. To help restore competitiveness and improve financial market conditions, decisive actions have been taken. Important decisions in 2012 include pension schemes and unemployment benefit systems with the objective of raising the employment rate to 73 percent by 2020.
The new government has taken important steps to support job creation and address the cost of aging-notably through wage moderation, pension reform, and a tax shift. But growth prospects remain mediocre, public debt very high, and the labor market severely fragmented. Downside risks loom large, including from the slowdown in emerging markets, financial volatility, and geopolitical stress.
Following successful reforms during the government's initial year in office, the year 2016 proved to be more difficult. The terror attacks in Paris and Brussels had a significant, albeit temporary, effect on the economy. The fiscal strategy veered off track, with a sizeable overshoot of the deficit target. Growth prospects for 2017 and beyond are modest, as in other euro area countries. The Belgian labor market remains severely fragmented.