Belgian confidence gets a boost

Business morale in Belgium continued to rise this month, its central bank said yesterday. The headline business confidence index surprised economists by leaping from 4.5 last month to 5.8 in February – its highest level since July 2007. Belgium’s construction sector bounced back to a positive score of five points in the index, from January level of -3.6, the pick up reflecting business delayed by extreme winter weather. Retail trade also upticked, reaching 13 points from 8.3 last month. “This survey confirms the positive surprise of recent business surveys,” said Francois Cabau of Barclays Capital.