Gross domestic product in 4th quarter 2012

Bern, 28.02.2013 - Switzerland’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew in the 4th quarter 2012 by 0.2%* compared to the 3rd quarter. Positive contributions to growth came primarily from private and public consumption. Gross fixed investments contributed positively but marginally to GDP growth. However, net exports of goods and services delivered a negative contribution to GDP growth in the 4th quarter. Value added on the production side increased in a number of service related sectors; particularly in the areas of trade, transport, information and communication, the delivery of financial services as well as in healthcare and social services. By contrast, the value added in the industry sector declined. Compared with the 4th quarter 2011, Swiss GDP grew by 1.4%. From the results of the quarterly national accounts, a provisional GDP growth rate over the whole year 2012 of 1.0% at constant prices and of 1.1% at current prices can be derived.

Private consumption increased in the 4th quarter 2012 by 1.1% over the previous quarter. This strong growth is primarily driven by two categories: there was a very distinctive increase in spending on health and the category of miscellaneous goods and services, which comprises two thirds financial services and insurances, reported a higher than average rise. General government consumption also increased markedly by 1.1%.

Gross fixed investments increased by 0.5%. Investment in construction showed only a 0.1% growth. Investment in machinery and equipment returned to positive growth rates following two negative quarters (+0.7%). Investments in IT services and in other vehicle (air-craft) in particular were two driving forces. As in the previous quarter changes in inventories (including statistical differences) had virtually no impact on the GDP growth.

The export of goods (excluding precious metals, jewellery and gems as well as works of art and antiques) decreased by 2.1% in the 4th quarter 2012. Chemicals and related products, which had previously reported strong growth, reported a fall in export volumes. Many other categories continued their stagnating or declining trend (e.g. exports by the machine, metal and textile manufacturing industries). By contrast, exports of precision instruments and watches delivered a positive contribution during the last quarter of 2012. The import of goods (excluding precious metals, jewellery and gems as well as works of art and antiques) fell slightly (-0.1%). Only chemicals, metals and vehicles reported a positive development – although in some areas only a marginal growth was registered. All other categories experienced a decline.

Exports in the services sector showed a strong rise (+4.3%). Revenues from tourism (tourism exports) as well as other service exports showed positive developments. Imports also posted strong growth (+6.9%) due to an exceptional increase in other services imports (total excluding spending on tourism).  

On the production side there was an increase in value-added particularly for the services sectors. The following production areas contributed positively to the GDP growth: trade, transport, information and communication, delivery of financial services, healthcare and social services as well as the public administration. By contrast, a decline in the value-added in the manufacturing industry, energy and water supplies, waste management, as well as in real estate activities.

The deflator for the gross domestic product increased by 0.2% compared to the 4th quarter 2011 whilst the deflator for private consumption declined by 0.4%. Prices for equipment, which have been falling for more than three years, continued their negative trend (-0.8%). The price index for investments in construction rose slightly by 0.2%. The development of export prices are worth noting: following a relatively long downward trend in the prices of exported and imported goods, price increases have been registered since the 3rd quarter 2012. In the 4th quarter 2012 the prices of goods exports increased by 2.4%, those for goods imports by 0.6%.

The first preliminary results for the year 2012:
From the results of the quarterly national accounts, a provisional GDP growth rate over the whole year 2012 of 1.0% at constant prices and of 1.1% at current prices can be derived Private consumption delivered the largest contribution to GDP growth on the expenditure side (1.5 percentage points). Government consumption as well as investments delivered small, but positive contributions to GDP growth in 2012. The trade balance in goods and services by contrast contributed negatively to GDP growth (-0.7 percentage point). For the GDP by production approach the following business areas in particular registered an increase in value-added: financial services, insurances, real estate activities as well as healthcare and social services.

* Unless stated otherwise the percentage changes over the previous year, listed here are calculated from seasonally and price adjusted figures (not annualized). "Real" is used as an abbreviation for the formulation "data at previous year prices, quarterly chained series with reference year 2005”. The official terminology also uses the phrase “volume changes in GDP”.

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Last modification 03.11.2023

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