Crisis has cost each of us €12,000, study says
Belgian households currently have the lowest assets in 20 years, according to a study by ING Bank. Because of the economic crisis, the gross national product has gone down by €120 billion, which represents a loss of €12,000 for every man, woman and child in the country between the summer of 2007 and March of this year.
By "assets" the study means cash, deposits, shares, fixed-rate bonds, investment funds and insurance products. Between 1992 (when records began) and the end of 2008, the value of the assets grew by 80% to €788 billion. At the same time, debt grew by 145%, reducing the net asset increase to €610 billion. The title of the study captures the spirit of the calculation: "Two lost decades for Belgian financial assets".
The damage done by the latest economic crisis, the study concludes, is worse than the effect of the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000. Then, the economy lost €113 billion, but this time around share prices have fallen twice as fast in relation to GDP.