Investing in Belgium

Belgium FlagBelgium is an EU member located in Western Europe. It has a strong industrialized economy, well-developed transportation infrastructure, and a highly productive work-force making it an attractive destination for foreign capital.

 

Belgium’s Main Industries

  Belgium is economically known for its strength in:

  • Diamonds
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Sector
    • Engineering and Metal Products
      • Minerals Processing
        • Copper
        • Zinc
        • Lead
    • Steel and Iron Production
  • Heavy machinery and industrial equipment production
  • Motor  and Vehicle Assembly and Production
    • Automobiles
    • Ships and vessels
  • Petroleum
  • Food and Beverage Processing
  • Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
    • Sulphuric Acid
    • Nitric Acid
    • Synthetic Ammonia
    • Crude Tar
  • Textiles Processing
    • Cotton
    • Wool
    • Linens
    • Synthetic Fabrics
    • Spinning
    • Weaving

 

Belgium’s Main Stock Exchange

The main stock exchange in Belgium is:

  1. 1.      Euronext Brussels
    1. Founded in the early 19th century
    2. Merged with the ParisBourse and Amsterdam Exchanges to form Euronext
    3. Euronext provides a single, cross-border exchange for markets in equities and derivatives
    4. Main Index

i.     BEL 20 – includes twenty highly liquid Belgian equities

 

Belgium is an important trading partner with many EU members, and as such, many companies in the EU region have also listed on the Euronext Brussels.

 

Glimpse into Belgium’s Equity Market

Belgium listed equities have rebounded following the 2008 financial crisis yielding around 30% from recessionary bottoms, as represented the BEL 20 index.

The Euronext Brussels market capitalization rose 17% from Euro 202 billion (2009) to Euro 273 billion (2010).

 

Stock Index Performance: BEL 20 Index

Belgium Stock Performance

 

Belgium’s 10 Most Profitable Companies in 2010

Belgium 10 most profitable companies

 

Ways to Invest in Belgium

There are a couple of different ways to invest in Belgian companies:

  • Financial or Investment firms
    • Brokerage services are provided by domestic or international firms in Belgium
    • Through a regional Belgian bank
      • Belgian banks offer securities investment services
        • AXA Bank
        • KBC Bank
        • BNP Paribas Fortis
        • Argenta
        • Belgian ETFs
          • EWK:NYSE ARCE – tracks the MSCI Belgium Investable Market Index
          • Through some international online brokers:
            • MB Trading
            • Interactive Brokers
            • TD Ameritrade
            • E-Trade
            • Questrade
            • optionsXpress
            • optionshouse
            • tradeMONSTER
            • Charles Schwab