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Gross Domestic Product in 1st Quarter 2010

Bern, 01.06.2010 - Compared to the 4th quarter 2009, real gross domestic product in Switzerland (GDP) expanded by 0.4%* in the 1st quarter 2010, representing a slower growth than in the two preceding strong quarters. Positive growth stimulus continued to emerge mainly from trade balance and private consumption. In contrast, declines in equipment and software investments as well as in building investments had a negative impact on GDP. Government spending was also reduced. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, real GDP went up by 2.2%.

Private consumption picked up momentum once again in the first quarter and was 0.5% above that of the previous quarter. It was the food and beverages, telecommunications, housing services and energy consumption, in particular, as well as expenditures for hotels and restaurants which contributed to this growth. On the other hand, consumption in the segments of health and education suffered a decrease. For the first time following three expansive quarters, government spending was again negative (-1.4%).

Total investments in the first quarter went back by 0.8%. After two quarters characterized by robust growth, software and equipment spending shrunk by 0.8% - the individual subcategories showing developments in various directions. Especially investments made in the area of metal products and machinery revealed a negative development. Building investments also declined by 0.8%.

Expansion of exports of goods and services experienced a boost in the first quarter to 4.8%. Goods exports (+5.6%) were able to benefit from an extraordinarily strong impact from the “precious objects” segment (precious metals, gems, objects of art and antiques). Excluding the effect from precious objects, the increase in goods exports totaled 2.5%. Exports of services could also improve considerably (+2.9%). Growth of goods and services imports, as well, saw a rapid boost (+2.5%). A relatively strong increase of goods imports (+3.1%, excluding precious objects +2.1%) was contrasted by stagnating services imports (+0.1%).

On the production side, the upward momentum in the first quarter of 2010 enjoyed a relatively wide support although not all of the sectors could make a positive contribution to GDP growth. While real net output in the sector dominated by industry (+1.1%), building trade (+0.9%) as well as by trade, hotels and restaurants, traffic and telecommunications (+0.7%) achieved considerable growth once again, the sectors characterized by financial and public services, on the other hand, suffered from a slight decline in real net output of 0.1% each. In agriculture, the slump in real net output, compared to the preceding quarter, was 2.7%.

In comparison with the respective quarter of the previous year, the gross domestic product deflator dropped by 0.2%. After three negative quarters in a row, the consumption deflator was able to move upward again (+0.4%). While prices for plant and equipment spending declined once again (-2.4%), those for building investments rose slightly by 0.1%. Export prices were 3.0% below the respective value of the previous year, and import prices dropped by 1.5%.

* Unless otherwise stated, the percentage changes listed here refer to the previous quarter from seasonally and price adjusted figures (not annualised). «Real» is used to describe the formulation «chain-linked quarterly estimates compiled at the average prices of the previous year, reference year 2000».

Address for enquiries:

Aymo Brunetti, SECO, Head of the Economic Policy Directorate, tel. +41 (31) 322 21 40
Bruno Parnisari, SECO, Head of Short Term Economic Analyses, Economic Policy Directorate, tel. +41 (31) 323 16 81


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
Internet: http://www.seco.admin.ch