Gross domestic product in the 1st quarter 2017

Bern, 01.06.2017 - Switzerland’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3 % in the first quarter of 2017*. Private consumption growth expanded only slightly, while government consumption rose moderately. Following the previous quarter’s fall, investment in construction and equipment increased. The trade balance contributed notably to overall GDP growth. On the production side, growth was largely driven by manufacturing, while service sector performance varied widely. Value added rose in healthcare and social work activities, but dropped in retail services, in financial services and in certain other service sectors. The GDP deflator experienced a year-on-year increase for the first time in 13 quarters.

After a very strong previous quarter, private consumption grew by 0.1 % in the first quarter of 2017, which is substantially below its long-term average. A positive impulse came from healthcare, while housing and energy contributed negatively. General government consumption stepped up moderately (+0.4 %). Investment in equipment, which had declined in the previous quarter, increased significantly (+1.7 %). Substantial support came from the research and development segment, but also investment in IT, machinery and other segments developed positively. Investment in construction rose by 0.4 % after a decline in the previous quarter. Domestic final demand thus contributed positively to GDP growth in the first quarter, supported by both consumption and investment. By contrast, changes in stocks (including
statistical variations) contributed negatively.

Exports of goods** rose at an above-average rate (+3.9 %) this quarter after the previous quarter’s decline. Growth in exports of goods was broad-based, with the biggest boosts supplied by chemical and pharmaceutical products and the precision tools, watches and jewellery segment, which experienced its highest quarter-on-quarter growth rate in six years. Exports of services also stepped up (+3.2 %), after two negative quarters in a row, while imports of goods** dropped in the first quarter (-1.5 %). Imports of energy and machinery, as well as imports of precision tools, watches and jewellery, rose. This was more than offset by the fall in imports in other segments, in particular chemical and pharmaceutical products. Imports of services rose sharply (+5.7 %), underpinned by imports of licences, patents and financial services, among other things. Overall, the trade balance in goods*** and services supported GDP growth in the first quarter.

On the production side of GDP, the industry sector was the key driver of growth in the first quarter of 2017. Value added increased by 2.2 % in manufacturing and thus significantly more than in previous quarters. Moreover, the energy sector experienced an increase (+3.4 %). The service sector performance was mixed. Value added increased considerably in healthcare and social work activities (+1.6 %), but stagnated or declined in certain other service sectors, for instance in trade ( 0.9 %), where the downward trend of the previous quarters
persisted. Financial services ( 1.7 %) and business services ( 0.4 %) also recorded declines for the first time after several positive quarters. The transport and logistics sector also experienced a downturn (-0.5 %), as did public administration (-0.1 %). Meanwhile the hotel and catering industry stagnated (+0.0 %). This all resulted in a moderate GDP growth of 0.3 % in the first quarter of 2017, a slight acceleration in comparison to the previous quarter (revised +0.2 % instead of +0.1 %).

The GDP deflator**** rose by 0.8 % year-on-year after seeing negative percentage changes for 13 quarters in a row. Similarly, deflators for private consumption (+0.1 %) and exports***** (+1.5 %) recorded an increase for the first time after several quarters. The deflator for imports*****  (+2.6 %) and those for investment in equipment (+0.2 %) and government consumption (+0.7 %) developed positively once again. Only the deflator for investment in construction ( 0.7 %) continued its negative trend of the previous quarters.

*Unless stated otherwise, quarter-on-quarter growth rates of chained, seasonally and calendar adjusted volumes, not annualized.

**Excluding non-monetary gold and valuables.

***Excluding non-monetary gold and valuables.

****Price developments are reported as year-on-year growth rates of non-seasonally and calendar adjusted data.

*****Total exported/imported goods and services excluding non-monetary gold and valuables.

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State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Last modification 30.01.2024

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