Harmonised competitiveness indicator

  • Deterioration of the Flemish competitive position due to exchange rate effects from 2015 onwards

    Overall, Flemish competitiveness, measured according to the harmonised competitiveness indicator (HCI), improved between 2006 and 2019. This improvement, however, was not continuous. The biggest improvement took place between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2015. The competitiveness has been deteriorating since mid-2015.

    The HCI is defined in such a way that a decrease 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 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 February 2020 competitiveness slightly improved (lower HCI values). This is mainly because the currencies of China, the US and the UK, and to a lesser extent India, Turkey and Japan, have risen in value.

    Finally, from March 2020 to May 2020, the Flemish HCI deteriorated slightly. This was mainly due to the revaluation of the British pound, the Turkish lira and the Mexican peso against the Euro.



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

20 August 2020

Next update

June 2021

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