Swiss Economy Expands 0.9% in Q4

The real gross domestic product (GDP) for Switzerland grew in the fourth quarter of 2010 by 0.9% over the third quarter. Positive growth came from investments, the trade balance for goods as well as from private consumption., SECO 3/1/2011 10:58:17 AM

On the production side, industry and banking business contributed to growth. GDP growth was 3.1% compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Private consumption expanded by 0.3% in the fourth quarter over the previous quarter. The categories of food processing, textiles, transport, news media and health made positive contributions to growth. The category other goods and services”, which is two thirds banking and insurance services, declined for the first time in 2010. Government consumption increased in the fourth quarter by 1.2% over the previous quarter.

Gross fixed capital formation expanded by 4% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter. Investments in fixed assets and software and investments in construction both had positive trends whereby fixed assets (+6.3%) was stronger than construction investment (+1.2%) The growth in fixed assets investments was largely due to an increase in the watches, precision instruments, and medical devices sectors.

External trade in goods was positive in the fourth quarters while external trade in services was very negative. The export of goods (excluding precious metals, jewelry and jewels as well as object of art and antiques) increased compared to the previous quarter by 3.2% and were thus significantly stronger than both of the previous quarters. The increase in the export of goods was primarily due to the impulse given by the component chemicals and related products. Expansion in the export of goods stands in stark contrast to the heavy contraction in the export of services (-5.8%). Import of goods increased by 1.3%, thus less strongly than goods exports. Service imports also declined heavily (-4.4%).

On the production side, GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 was broad based. The main engines for growth were the industrial dominated sector (+1.5%), the sector dominated by financial market services (+1.0%) as well as construction (+0.9%). The areas of trade, hotel and restaurant, transport and information services (+0.7%) as well as the sectors dominated by public services (+0.5%) recorded increases in their value-added. Only the agricultural sector (-2.0%) registered a decline.

The Deflator for the gross domestic product fell slightly (-0.5%) in the fourth quarter compared to the same period for the previous year, while the consumption deflator stagnated. While prices for investments in equipment fell once again (-1.9%), those for construction investments went up once again by 0.7%. The consistently negative trend in export prices since early 2009 continued in the fourth quarter 2010 with a decline of 1.8%. The negative trend in place since fall 2008 continued for import prices that sank by 1.7% in the last quarter of 2010.

Based on the results for quarterly GDP estimates, a first provisional estimate is available for the 2010 as a whole. Real gross domestic product expanded by 2.6%; at current prices growth was 2.0%. For the first time since 1997 the GDP deflator (price index for the gross domestic product) declined by 0.5%. The trade balance for services (net exports) was the main growth contributor throughout 2010, while the trade balance for goods did not really contribute much at all. Private consumption and investment also boosted GDP growth. On the production side of GDP; industry, financial intermediaries as well as business services all recorded significant growth in value-added.

Swiss Economy Expands 0.9% in Q4