the result of expansion in the housing and healthcare sectors along with the other” category (mainly banking services and insurance). Consumption expenditures in the components food and clothing fell however. Government consumption increased in the first quarter by 0.3% over the previous quarter.
Gross fixed capital formation fell by a slight -0.3% in the first quarter. Development varied greatly within this aggregate. Construction investment grew sharply by 2.7%. In comparison, capital spending declined by -2.7%, after having registered a strong increase during the last quarter of 2010. Negative growth could be observed in particular in vehicle investments and software categories.
As in the fourth quarter of 2010, the export of goods (excluding precious metals, gemstones, as well as object of art and antiques) also expanded markedly in the first quarter of 2011 by 3.1%. In particular the machinery and electronics categories along with precision and optical instruments, clocks, watches and jewellery contributed positively to this growth. Service exports grew by 10.8% over the previous quarter. This remarkable increase was exclusively the product of higher earnings from the transit trade (merchandising” or trade with raw material). Goods imports (excluding precious metals, gemstones, as well as object of art and antiques) increased by 0.7%. The metal working, machinery, appliance, electronics and vehicle categories all made significant contributions to the increase in imported goods. Services imports expanded by 1.1%.
The production side was more nuanced in terms of growth in the first quarter of 2011. There was a significant increase in the value added in the areas of agriculture (+3.8%), construction (+1.2%), as well as the industry-dominated sector (+0.6%). By contrast, the value added increases in the sector dominated by financial services as well as the sector dominated by public services were rather modest at a mere 0.2% each. In the trade, hotel and transport services value added even declined (-0.5%).