Several sources in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have already tried to predict the possible macroeconomic consequences of the pandemic, and all three countries agree that outlooks are bleak. This is perhaps best shown in an overview of different GDP predictions made by different sources in Belgium and how this developed over time. In December 2019, the National Bank of Belgium predicted a GDP growth of slightly more than one percent for 2020. Just before mid-March, the Federal Planning Agency already lowered this to slightly above zero percent. Several days later, ING Belgium and KBC predicted an outright negative GDP growth. This also shows a serious problem when it comes to macroeconomic forecasts. Sources in all three Benelux countries who tried to research the economic impact of COVID-19 declared this is not fully possible in March 2020. There was simply not enough data and there are too many unknowns. For his reason alone, Rabobank predictions for Dutch GDP growth or the economic development according to four different scenarios from the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) were wildly different from one another. GDP predictions for the Netherlands varied from -0.2 percent to almost minus eight percent for 2020 alone. STATEC, the national statistic bureau of Luxembourg, used Oxford Economics models to predict that its economy would slow by over two percent in 2020, in the event of a global recession. This first prediction was for early March, however.
The coronavirus outbreak and precautions to prevent a dramatic incline in COVID-19 cases hit the tourism and hospitality industries hard. With the closures of hotels, restaurants and cafes, it is estimated that the total revenue percentage loss of the hospitality sector in the Netherlands will amount to 33 percent. Flanders (Belgium) foresees a revenue loss within the tourism industry to be more than one billion euros per month, of which 400 million euros will likely be recorded the Brussels-Capital Region. Indeed, the tourism and hospitality industries in the Benelux will deal with huge economic impacts. Therefore, many companies are depended on their financial buffers and governmental support. However, 60 percent of the companies predicted that they did not have enough financial resources to survive the coronavirus epidemic for more than two to three months. A mere ten percent of businesses expected that they would be able to endure the epidemic for six months to a year.
Although these indicators can help to fathom the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, they are bound to change as the pandemic progresses. To this day, it is indeed hard to grasp the exact outcomes of the current crisis.