At the end of the year there was still a lot of news to be gleaned from the economic sector. In the first place, there was the European Central Bank, which once again decided to raise interest rates by 0.5 percentage points, in one year it is already an increase of more than 2.5 percentage points. For example, attempts are being made to combat inflation, but it also has its consequences some important side effects. With some delay, we see that saving is becoming a little bit interesting again: Belfius was the first major bank to raise the interest rate on savings accounts to 0.5 percent, while competitors are now following one after the other.
And yet we must continue to warn against the expensive life, which will not change soon. For some, it now consists of monitoring the energy bill in detail almost every day, which led to annoying findings with the cold snap at the beginning of December: a consumption in two weeks to almost 400 euros was no exception. Fortunately, we were able to spoil you again this week with a lot of interesting saving tips how to use your cell phone longer and whether it is important to unused chargers from the wall socket to get.
The Belgian budget was once again in the news negatively, which has meanwhile become a constant in our weekly meeting. The National Bank warned of one “risk of derailment” due to unsustainable public finances. The IMF therefore wants our country to start next year save at least four billion euros. Fortunately, it was not all doom and gloom: it is striking that the NBB in its annual forecasts no recession expected for our country, in contrast to most other analysts. A small contraction of the economy of 0.1 percent is only expected for this quarter, but that should recover at the beginning of 2023. Especially since you and I have continued to spend money. “Consumer confidence in companies has fallen sharply,” says Geert Langenus, economist at the National Bank. “But that did not correspond to the actual sales in the stores.” It is one of the positive consequences of wage indexation, which has maintained our purchasing power.
How are the two bad boys of corporate America doing now? Elon Musk, after a poll on Twitter, in which the majority wanted him gone, looking for a new CEO. It is also a necessity: last week, more than forty billion euros in Tesla’s market value went up in smoke. The speculators are tired of Musk abandoning his main company and seem to only have eyes for Twitter. Sam Bankman-Fried, the ex-boss of crypto exchange FTX, has agreed to his extradition to the US. He will probably have to go to jail for years because of fraud.
Speaking of scammers, Donald Trump, who is currently being turned inside out by the US Justice Department, had a “major announcement” late last week. Was he going to announce his new vice president? No, he brought a set digital NFT trading cards on the market with himself as a superhero, astronaut and cowboy at nearly a hundred dollars each. Less than a day later, the 45,000 pieces had already been shipped and he had earned almost five million euros from his still loyal fans.
Next week we look back at the past year, in which the most read articles about money and the economy are reviewed. So definitely keep an eye out.