Harmonised competitiveness indicator

  • Deterioration of the Flemish competitive position from 2015 onwards

    Overall, Flemish competitiveness improved between 2006 and 2019, measured according to the harmonised competitiveness indicator (HCI). However, competitiveness has deteriorated again since mid-2015. 


    The HCI is defined in such a way that a decrease in it indicates an improvement in competitiveness and an increase in the HCI indicates a deterioration of competitiveness. 


    After a significant decline in the HCI (i.e. improved competitiveness) the HCI began to rise again from mid-2015 onwards. This is due to the revaluation of the euro against the yuan, rouble and dollar. 


    Between March 2016 and April 2017 there was a limited decrease in the HCI and thus a (slight) improvement in Flemish competitiveness. Although the currencies of the United Kingdom, China and Turkey in particular became cheaper against the euro, and the Flemish HCI was negatively affected, the more expensive Russian rouble, US dollar, Japanese yen, Indian rupee and Brazilian real proved to be decisive factors. 


    Between May and August 2017, competitiveness weakened again (higher HCI values), mainly as a result of the depreciation of the US dollar and the British pound, and to a lesser extent the Chinese yuan and Russian rouble. 


    A further deterioration followed between September 2017 and September 2018 (higher HCI values). The currencies of Turkey, Russia, India and Sweden, in particular, became cheaper in relation to the euro. 


    Between October 2018 and May 2019 (most recent figures) competitiveness again slightly improved (lower HCI values). This is mainly because the currencies of China, India, the US and, to a lesser extent, Japan, are becoming more expensive. The Venezuelan bolivar became noticeably cheaper, but this country has too little sway in the HCI. 



Harmonised competitiveness indicator (HCI): a measure of exchange rate and price competitiveness. An increase in the HCI points to a deterioration of competitiveness; a decrease in the HCI points to an improvement. 

Publication date

25 June 2019

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