Belgium is a founding member of the European Union located in Western Europe. The Belgian economy is strongly globalized.
The gross value added (GVA) is generated by manufacturing industry, energy and water; construction; market services and non-market services.
The banking sector of Belgium is highly influenced by the neighbouring countries: Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Of the total 103 banks operating in Belgium 41 banks are branches of the banks from these countries.
Belgium joined the Euro Area on 1 January 1999.
|Nominal GDP (2016)||Nominal GDP per Capita (2016)||Real GDP Growth (2016)|
|422.0 bln EUR (+0.03%)||37 400 EUR (+0.02%)||1.2 % (2015: 1.4 %)|
According to Eurostat, nominal GDP of Belgium in 2016 was 422.0 bln EUR.
Belgium underperforms the European Union in terms of real GDP growth with the average annual differential coming to -0.3% over the past 10 years (2006 - 2016). In 2016 real GDP growth was 1.2% which was below the Euro Area average (1.8%) and below the European Union average (1.9%). Real GDP growth in 2017 - 2022 are IMF's estimates.
Chart 1. Real GDP Growth in Belgium. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.
In 2016, nominal GDP per capita in Belgium was 37 400 EUR.
Belgium has an above-average level of wealth in terms of per-capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP); this economic welfare indicator has, on average, exceeded that of the European Union by 12.8% over the past 10 years (2006 - 2016). GDP per capita at PPP in 2017 - 2022 are IMF's estimates.
Chart 2. GDP Per Capita at Purchasing Power Parity in Belgium; European Union = 100.
|CPI, MoM (Sep 2017)||CPI, YoY (Sep 2017)||CPI, Year Average (2016)|
|-0.5 % (Aug 2017: 1.5 %)||2.0 % (unchanged)||1.8 % (2015: 0.6 %)|
According to Eurostat, inflation rate in Belgium in 2016 expressed as annual percentages of average consumer prices was 1.8% which was above the Euro Area average (0.2%) and above the European Union average (0.3%). Inflation rates in 2017 - 2022 are IMF's estimates.
Chart 3. Inflation Rate in Belgium. Source: Eurostat, International Monetary Fund.
|Unemployment Rate (2016)|
|7.8 % (2015: 8.5 %)|
|Government Bond Yield (Sep 2017)|
|0.70 % (Aug 2017: 0.73 %)|
Chart 4. Government bond yield of Belgium. Source: Eurostat.
|AA (very high credit quality), outlook negative||Aa3 (high grade), outlook stable|
Withholding taxes are imposed at source of income and are often applied to dividends, interest, royalties, rent and similar payments. The rates of withholding tax are often reduced by double taxation agreements.
Withholding tax rates applied on payments of interest and dividends in Belgium are shown in Table 1.
|Natural person, resident||25.0 %||15.0 %|
|Natural person, non-resident||25.0 %||15.0 %|
Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) is an agreement between two or more countries for the avoidance of double taxation.
Belgium signed DTAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 1 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):
There are also several agreements between Belgium and other jurisdictions which were signed but haven't yet come into force (for agreements signed after after 1 January 2013 of signing the agreement is given in brackets):
There are 3 ways for jusrisdictions to exchange information on tax matters:
Spontaneous exchange of information is provision of information that is forseeably relevant to another party without a request being previously sent.
Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) enable exchange of information on request relating to a specific tax investigation, either criminal or civil.
Automatic information exchange allows jurisdictions to exchange information automatically, without having a specific tax investigation.
Belgium signed TIEAs which already came info force with the following jurisdictions (for agreements which came into force after 1 January 2013 the date of coming into force is given in brackets):
There are also several agreements between Belgium and other jurisdictions which was signed but haven't yet come into force (for agreements signed after 1 January 2013 of signing the agreement is given in brackets):
Belgium signed the automatic information exchange agreement on 29 October 2014 and committed to start the automatic information exchange in September 2017.
Belgium has signed bilateral agreements with 58 jurisdictions to automatically receive information:
Belgium has signed bilateral agreements with 70 jurisdictions to automatically send information:
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which became law in the United States in March 2010, focuses on reporting made by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The FATCA-reporting is facilitated by Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs).
|FATCA Status in Belgium|
|IGA in effect since 23 April 2014, Model 1|
Belgium has FATCA agreement with the U.S. in effect since 23 April 2014 (Intergovernmental Agreement Model 1). Financial institutions operating in Belgium are required to identify U.S. taxpayers by January 1, 2017 and to report the information for 2017 and the subsequent years. The agreement is reciprocal: Belgian financial accounts hold in U.S. financial institutions will be reported to Belgian authorities.
|Financial Market Development|
|4.7 (max 7.0), 26th out of 138 countries|
|5.3 (max 7.0), 56th out of 138 countries|
According to World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, financial market development in Belgium is scored 4.7 out of maximum 7.0 and ranked 26th out of 138 analysed economies, trustworthiness and confidence of financial market is scored 4.6 (51st place).
Chart 5. Financial Market Development in Belgium. Source: WEF.
Soundness of banks is scored 5.3 bringing Belgium into the 56th place.
Chart 6. Soundness of Banks in Belgium. Source: WEF.
|Maximum Protected Amount|
|100 000 EUR|
Deposit Guarantee Schemes compensate certain deposits held by depositors of a bank that becomes unable to meet its obligations.
From a depositor's point of view it is important to know:
All these details about deposit guarantee scheme in Belgium are summarised in Table 2.
|Scheme Participants||all credit institutions operating in Belgium, branches of non-EEA banks, branches of Belgian banks abroad|
|Scheme Exemptions||branches of EEA-banks (covered by their home countries)|
|Eligible Depositors||natural persons, legal entities|
|Covered Accounts||time deposit, sight and savings accounts|
|Covered Currencies||EEA currencies|
|Maximum Protected Amount||100 000 EUR|
|Paid In Currency||EUR|
Table 2. Deposit guarantee scheme in Belgium.
EEA stands for European Economic Area and consists of all EU member states plus Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.
EEA currencies are all official currencies of EEA members. Switzerland is not a EEA member, but because CHF is the official currency of Liechtenstein, CHF also belongs to EEA currencies.
So, only the deposits made with Belgian banks in the following currencies are covered by the deposit guarantee scheme of Belgium
|RON||Romanian new leu|
It should be also noted that deposits in non-EEA currencies (for example, USD and JPY) are not covered by the Belgian deposit guarantee scheme.
Moody's country ceilings for deposits specify the highest rating that can be assigned to local- or foreign- currency denominated deposit obligations of a bank or other deposit taking institution domiciled within that country.
|Local Currency (Euro)||Foreign Currency|
|Aaa (prime)||Aaa (prime)|
Local currency (Euro) deposit ceiling for Belgium is set to Aaa (prime), foreign currency deposit ceiling is Aaa (prime).
|Average Deposit Rate (Aug 2017, EUR)|
|0.14 % (Jul 2017: 0.09 %)|
Chart 7. Deposit Rates in Belgium. Source: ECB.
|Number of Banks|
|Consolidated Assets (2016)|
|1 021.89 bln EUR (+5.32%)|
|Recent Changes (2016)|
|new banks: 3, closed banks: 8|
Currently there are 95 credit institutions operating in Belgium.
In 2016 consolidated banking assets in Belgium were 1 021.89 bln EUR. The consolidated banking assets' evolution is shown at Chart 8 below.
Chart 8. Consolidated banking assets in Belgium.
Recent structural changes (2013 - 2016) of the banking sector of Belgium are summarised in Table 3.
|Number of Opened Banks||5||6||1||3|
|Number of Closed Banks||6||6||4||8|
Table 3. Recent structural changes in the banking sector of Belgium.
The list of the most recently opened banks in Belgium is provided in Table 4.
|MUFG Bank (Europe) N.V. Brussels Branch (new)||May 2016|
|Bank of America Merrill Lynch International (new)||May 2016|
|Citibank Europe Plc (new)||February 2016|
|MeDirect Bank SA (new)||April 2015|
|Compagnie de Banque Privée Quilvest SA (new)||December 2014|
|Banque PSA Finance SA (closed)||September 2014|
|Caisse d'Epargne Nord France Europe (closed)||September 2014|
|Natixis Bank SA (new)||September 2014|
|Edmond de Rothschild (Europe) (new)||July 2014|
|Union Bank of India (new)||July 2014|
Table 4. The most recently opened banks in Belgium.
All the credit institutions operating in Belgium can be classified into several categories. Table 5 summarises the number of banks in each category.
|Category||Number of Banks|
|Branches of foreign banks||59|
There are 60 branches of foreign banks from 13 different countries in Belgium. Table 6 shows 10 countries having the biggest number of branches in Belgium.
|Country of Origin||Number of Branches|