National unity is a rarity in Belgium, a country torn between Dutch-speaking Flemings and francophone Walloons.

But still: There is the nationwide loyalty to the popular royal family.

And there is football.

The whole country was proud at the weekend of international goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who stunned Liverpool strikers in Saturday night's Champions League final in Paris, kept his goal clean and was instrumental in Real Madrid winning the game 1: 0 won.

"Courtois is the best goalkeeper on the planet," wrote the Flemish newspaper De Standaard.

And the francophone "Le Soir" even named Courtois the "best footballer in the world".

Werner Mussler

Business correspondent in Brussels.

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Maybe the little Belgian weekend euphoria ensured that the BEL 20, the leading index of the Brussels Stock Exchange, started the week on Monday morning with a plus of almost one percent and with 3985 points scratched the 4000 point mark for the first time in a few weeks .

In any case, the index lost again during the course of the day and fluctuated around 3950 points in the afternoon.

This corresponds roughly to the May average.

The BEL 20 is now just below where it was in January, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a year, the leading Belgian index has lost 3 percent less than the Dax (minus 5.5 percent) or the Euro Stoxx 50 (minus 4 percent), with which it usually runs about the same.

And the prospects are positive.

In the most recent overview of the analysts' recommendations summarized on the website, the buy recommendations far outweigh the negative.

Only one of the 20 BEL-20 companies - energy infrastructure provider Elia - is advised to sell the paper.

Otherwise, the buy recommendations far outweigh the negative, especially for the heavyweights in the Belgian index.

One example is the brewery group AB Inbev, whose portfolio includes almost all major Belgian brands, international brands such as Budweiser or Corona, but also Beck's, Diebels, Hasseröder and the brands of the Spaten-Löwenbräu Group, and which has a weight of almost 12 in the BEL 20 percent has.

AB Inbev suffered particularly from the corona pandemic, but according to the analysts, should soon finally overcome this slump. registered 19 buy and six hold recommendations for the beer group in the past few weeks.

From this, the website derives a price gain of almost 39 percent for the next twelve months.

A similarly positive price target (almost 37 percent) is called for the financial group KBC, which has a weight of 11.6 percent in the BEL 20.

For the other two heavyweights in the index – the two pharmaceutical companies Argenx from Ghent and UCB from Brussels – the analysts have recently issued only buy recommendations.

They believe that the UCB paper will increase by 51 percent within a year, and that of Argenx by 16 percent.

For the other large Belgian biotech group, Galapagos from Mechelen, they name a price target of almost 40 percent.

However, optimism also prevails in the other sectors.

The analysts also believe that the shares of Aperam, a subsidiary of the steel group Arcelor-Mittal, the investment group Sofina, the retailer Colruyt and the real estate group VGP can increase in value by more than 50 percent in one year.

It is of course an open question whether the macroeconomic prospects match this.

Both for this year and for the coming year, the growth prospects for Belgium at 2.0 and 1.8 percent are noticeably below the average for the euro area.

In its spring forecast, the EU Commission reports growth of 2.7 and 2.3 percent for the latter.

And the first inflation estimate by the Belgian statistical authority for May, which became known on Monday, is 8.97 percent.

That is not just one percentage point more than in Germany.

It is also the highest it has been since August 1982.

Belgium is one of the very few euro countries in which wage indexation still exists, i.e. wages are linked to the development of inflation.

A wage-price spiral threatens there more than anywhere else.