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Swiss Federal Council : Gross domestic product in 2nd quarter 2013

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09/03/2013 | 07:58am CET
Bern, 03.09.2013 - Switzerland's real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.5% in the 2nd quarter 2013 compared to the previous quarter.* As in the previous quarters, positive contributions to growth came primarily from private consumption. Investments in machinery and equipment showed a marked increase for the first time in a year. Investments in construction reported a slight reduction. The balance of trade in goods contributed negatively to GDP growth (lower exports and higher imports). By contrast, the contributions from service exports and imports balanced each other out. On the production side, there was a reduction in value-added in the areas of industry and the construction sector in the 2nd quarter. Many areas of the services sector contributed positively to GDP growth (trade; transport, information and communication; financial and insurance services; real estate and housing; provision of other business services; healthcare).

In the 2nd quarter 2013 household final consumption expenditure (including that of non-profit organisations serving households) increased by 0.7%. Healthcare has been the key factor in the growth of private consumption for four quarters. General government final consumption expenditure grew by 0.1%.

Following a series of weak quarters gross fixed investments increased in the 2nd quarter 2013 for the first time again (+1.4%). This increase was due to the regaining strength of investments in machinery and equipment (+2.9%) which returned to a positive growth path following a period of weakness. However, the main contribution to this positive development came from just one sector ("other vehicles"). Investments in construction reported a slight reduction (-0.3%).

The exports of goods (excluding precious metals, jewellery and gems as well as works of art and antiques) shrank in the 2nd quarter 2013 by 0.9% compared with the previous quarter. A decrease was registered in the categories of precision instruments/watches/jewellery, vehicles and food and beverages. Exports by the machine industry as well as of chemical and pharmaceutical products were also slightly lower. Only exports by the metals industry reported a slight positive rise.

The imports of goods (excluding precious metals, jewellery and gems as well as works of art and antiques) rose by 1.4%. The sharp increase in the import of chemical and pharmaceutical products, as well as of vehicle imports, contributed mainly to these results.

The services sector saw a continuation of the recovery in the export of tourism which began in mid-2012 (+1.6% in the 2nd quarter 2013). Other services exports broadly stagnated (+0.1%). The import of tourism services (spending on tourism abroad) rose by 0.2%, with the remaining import of services reporting a 0.7% increase. Overall, the export of services in the 2nd quarter 2013 grew by 0.3% and the import of services by 0.6%.

On the production side the areas of industry and the construction sector contributed negatively to GDP growth. Numerous categories in the services sector delivered however positive contributions to GDP growth. The increase in value added in the categories "provision of financial services", "insurances", "real estate and housing", "provision of freelance, scientific and technical services" as well as "healthcare and social welfare" accounted for the majority of the 0.5% increase in GDP on the production side in the 2nd quarter 2013.

The small increase (or the relative stagnation) in the Gross Domestic Product deflator compared with the same quarter in the previous year and which has been noted since the beginning of 2012, continued in the 2nd quarter 2013 (GDP deflator +0.0%). The deflator for household final consumption expenditure decreased by 0.9%; the negative trend in consumer prices began in the final quarter of 2011. The deflator for investments in construction increased by 0.3%. Prices of investments in machinery and equipment have been falling since the second quarter of 2009; in the second quarter of 2013 the reduction was -0.4%. The deflator for total exports (goods, excluding precious metals, jewellery and gems as well as works of art and antiques, and services) increased by 1.2%, as did the prices for total imports.

*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". The comments on the development of the price indices are based on the changes over the previous year in the non-seasonally-adjusted data.

Eric Scheidegger, SECO, Head of the Economic Policy Directorate, Tel. +41 (31) 322 29 59
Bruno Parnisari, SECO, Head of Short Term Economic Analyses, Economic Policy Directorate, Tel. +41 (31) 323 16 81
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