Gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2023: Swiss economy grows
Bern, 30.05.2023 - Switzerland's GDP adjusted for sporting events rose by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2023, following 0.0% growth in the fourth quarter of 2022.* Domestic demand proved robust. Along with rising goods exports, manufacturing also registered a slight increase.
Growth in domestic final demand (+0.9%) was stronger in the first quarter than the historical average. Government consumption (+0.0%) stagnated, but private consumption (+0.6%) recorded substantial growth. In particular, there was a significant increase in consumer spending on services, such as mobility and tourism. Buoyed by the continued recovery in travel, value added in the transport and communication sector (+0.7%) and in the accommodation and food services sector (+1.0%) increased at an above-average rate.
Consumer spending on goods developed at a more moderate pace. Value added in retail trade (−0.4%) slightly declined accordingly, albeit from a high level. Bolstered by wholesale trade and car sales, trade as a whole (+2.1%) nonetheless posted a positive overall result for the quarter. Most other service sectors also registered positive growth in the first quarter, including the important sector of business-related services (+0.2%), the health sector (+0.7%) and the entertainment sector** (+1.2%).
Investment activity also contributed to the solid development of domestic demand in the first quarter. Investments in equipment (+2.6%) saw a significant rise. This was mainly attributa-ble to research and development and to vehicles, but the other categories also saw slight growth overall. Construction investment (–0.1%) was essentially stable. After a number of weak quarters, value added in the construction sector (+0.8%) rose again, driven mainly by higher sales revenues in civil engineering and specialised construction activities.
Following three negative quarters in succession, value added in the manufacturing sector (+0.3%) again posted a slight uptick. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry declined at a high level (–0.6%). Value added increased in the other industrial sectors, however, with higher exports and sales in machinery and vehicles, for example. Exports of goods*** saw broad-based growth overall across the various categories and markets (+4.0%).
On the other hand, exports of services**** (–0.9%) posted a decline. With exports of financial services contracting, value added in the financial sector (–4.1%) also fell noticeably, as in previous quarters. Meanwhile, there was an increase in imports***** of goods and services (+3.6%). Overall, the contribution of foreign trade to GDP growth was slightly negative.
The Swiss National Bank introduced a new current account survey as of the first quarter of 2023.****** As a result of this change, the response rate was relatively low at the time of processing the data. Data items from the current account are used at various points in calculating the Swiss National Accounts. Therefore, the possibility of greater revisions than usual over the coming quarters cannot be ruled out.
Further information on GDP in the first quarter can be found in the summer 2023 edition of Konjunkturtendenzen (Economic situation in Switzerland) at www.seco.admin.ch/gdp.
** Not adjusted for sporting events: −24.9%. The closing of the 2022 World Cup coincides with a sharp decline in the sector's value added not adjusted for sporting events.
*** Goods excluding valuables.
**** Not adjusted for sporting events: −5.5%.
***** Goods and services excluding valuables. Not adjusted for sporting events: 3.8%.
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