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Financial News: Switzerland Q1 Growth Tops Expectations

Switzerland Q1 Growth Tops Expectations

05/28/2019 - 05:36:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Switzerland's economic growth accelerated more-than-expected in the first quarter of the year on domestic demand and foreign trade, data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, showed on Tuesday.

Gross domestic product growth doubled to 0.6 percent sequentially from a revised 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Economists had forecast the growth rate to double to 0.4 percent from the fourth quarter's original 0.2 percent.

On a yearly basis, GDP advanced 1.7 percent after rising a revised 1.5 percent a quarter ago. Economists had expected growth to ease to 1 percent in the first quarter.

The Swiss National Bank has forecast growth of around 1.5 percent this year after a 2.5 percent expansion last year.

David Oxley, an economist at Capital Economics, said the Swiss economy is set to expand by about 1 percent in 2019 - a touch faster than in the Eurozone - although the risks to the forecast are probably now on the upside.

The expenditure-side breakdown of GDP showed that household spending gained 0.4 percent on quarter following previous quarter's 0.3 percent increase. At the same time, the increase in government expenditure held steady at 0.3 percent.

Investment in equipment and software rebounded 1.5 percent after a 0.1 percent fall. Likewise, the construction sector investment moved up 0.5 percent reversing a 0.2 percent drop.

Exports of goods excluding valuables rose 2.2 percent and shipments of services grew 1.7 percent. At the same time, imports of goods excluding valuables increased 2.4 percent and imports of services rose 1.3 percent.

In March, the SECO slashed the growth forecast for this year further, citing weaker demand for the country's exports due to the slowdown in the global economy and trade.

The GDP growth forecast for this year was trimmed to 1.1 percent from 1.5 percent predicted in December. The growth forecast for next year was left unchanged at 1.7 percent, as the global economy is expected to gain moderate momentum, boosting trade and thus, the Swiss economy.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, data from the Federal Customs Administration showed that exports fell 0.6 percent, while imports grew 1.5 percent in April, driving the trade surplus to CHF 1.9 billion compared to CHF 2.5 billion surplus in March.

Another report from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH showed that watch exports dropped 0.4 percent in April from last year, but the value of watch exports remained high at almost CHF 1.8 billion.

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