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  • Mercredi 1/7/2020

    The pandemic may prove to have the same effect on the financial sector as on the EU as a whole – it will accelerate integration. As the EU is proposing to double its budget, so may the crisis help to create a truly European financial market. The EU’s reaction will create spill-overs in other fields and allow the EU to take centre stage in financial markets, ensuring that many well-known obstacles will finally be tackled. But the crisis has also revealed that further competition is coming to one very crucial function of banks: payments.

  • Mercredi 1/7/2020
    Peter Vanden Houte

    While the ECB is not allowed to monetise debt formally in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, there seems to be some scope to do so, without fear of galloping inflation. It might even be needed to hit the inflation target.

  • Mardi 2/6/2020

    Since the start of the 21st century, the architecture of the financial system has changed under the pressure of several crises. The way supervisors, central banks, regulators, and the commercial banks interact is now very different from the situation at the end of the 20th century. Many changes have been implemented as an “urgency measure” to stabilize the system, without looking at the coherence of the whole system and the occasional unintended consequences in the long run. Given that the Corona crisis will not allow us to return quickly to the architecture in line of “best practices” of last century, there should be a thorough analysis of the new “normal” and its internal coherence. Many of the existing “checks and balances” in the architecture have been eliminated for short term reasons. It is urgent to think about a financial system, adapted to the reality of today.

  • Mardi 2/6/2020
    Hans Degryse

    Covid-19 has hit health systems and economies all over the world. To weather this crisis, the financial sector encompassing Febelfin, the National Bank of Belgium and the minister of finance installed a financial bazooka of €50 billion on March 22, 2020. In contrast to some other countries such as Switzerland, this bazooka did not work out as expected. In this short note, we make an evaluation and go deeper into potential drivers behind this failure. We conclude by making some alternative suggestions.

  • Mardi 2/6/2020
    Giuseppe Pagano

    The consequences of the present corona-crisis are disruptive and unprecedented since1929.  GDP is expected to go down by approximatively 7 % in Belgium and 7,5 % in the Euro Area, with alarming effects on unemployment and public debt.


    The economic authorities have reacted with great vigour. The ECB has ensured the market liquidity, and the governments have increased their deficits. However, one should wonder about the limits of such policies. The monetary policy of the ECB could be questioned if inflation were to exceed the 2 % threshold. Moreover interference by national agencies such as the German Constitutional Court is to be feared. Yet, the limit of public indebtedness is to be found in the availability of lenders at a reasonable rate, which is narrowly linked to the rate and liquidity policy of the ECB. Moreover the cost of the debt has now proved to be more important than the debt ratio as such.


    Finally, one can try to identify the “winners” and the “losers” of the crisis. Among the former are the governments, the collective health systems and research. Among the latter are uncontrolled international exchanges and unlimited delocalizations. De-growth, in its most radical sense, is also to be ranked along the losers. The fate of taxpayers is rather unclear; however it can be hoped that the crisis  would encourage fiscal authorities to privilege the fight against big tax evasion, the taxation of financial transactions and the introduction of a general carbon tax. At last, the reaction of the European Union seems to to get closer to what would be most useful. It is especially the case with the project of common loans set forth by Germany and France. Moreover the new types of taxation mentioned hereabove could be an ideal opportunity for Europe to show how useful she can be.

  • Mardi 2/6/2020
    Catherine Rigo

    The National Bank of Belgium has been conducting a monthly consumer survey for many years now. This survey, with its general scope, has proved very useful in the context of the current crisis, as the movement in the confidence indicator closely mirrors the different phases of the COVID-19 crisis. From April, the Bank also took advantage of the survey to ask consumers two additional questions: one on the loss of income due to the crisis and the other on the savings buffer available to get through the crisis. This article focuses on these two questions, highlighting how different population groups may vary in their exposure to the crisis.

  • Mardi 2/6/2020
    Steven Trypsteen

    The crisis has a large impact on income growth and this will lead to downward pressure on house prices. But there are also factors that support the housing market. We expect that the mortgage interest rate will remain low, that the relative yield on real estate will remain attractive and that the belief of Belgians in real estate will not be damaged. All in all, we currently think that house prices will drop by about 2% in 2020 and remain constant in 2021.

  • Mercredi 6/5/2020
    Koen De Leus

    Will residential real estate prices go down badly because of the Corona recession? We see a lower supply, low mortgage rates, a largely stable demand and only a slight decrease in disposable income. Add to this a negative inflation of -0.4%. That combination leads us to a minimum decline of 1% for 2020 and stable real real estate prices in 2021. Of course, if our U-shaped scenario turns into a more protracted recession, price pressure will be mounting.


  • Mercredi 6/5/2020
    Bernard Kepenne

    While everyone is now fully aware that we are going to have to learn to live with Covid-19 for a long time to come, the question arises as to what the standard will be tomorrow for ensuring good social distancing. What if we actually already have the answer? What if we already have a cure? Digital technology, which has been permeating our lives for several years, is now becoming essential in this context of crisis as the solution through teleworking, e-commerce, distance learning, in particular. 

  • Mercredi 6/5/2020
    Koen De Leus, Ludo Coenen

    The corona virus is impacting heavily our economy. Forecasts for Belgium - and Europe - range from -5% to -15% for 2020. The ultimate damage depends on whether we can control the virus after a gradual relaxation of the measures. For our long-term prosperity, it is crucial that after the strong contraction, there will be a full recovery without loss of production capacity. We developed a plan to achieve a quick and safe recovery.