Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- The Swiss economy unexpectedly stagnated in the third quarter amid weak private and government consumption.

Gross domestic product stalled in the three months through September, after a rate of 0.6 percent in the second quarter, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said on Friday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast an increase of 0.3 percent for the period.

Switzerland’s economic slowdown coincides with a weakening in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, where foreign sales contracted slightly and investment in equipment slipped. The euro area is Switzerland’s top destination for exports.

The Swiss economy was hit by a shock last year after the central bank’s decision to drop its cap on the franc caused a sudden surge against the euro. The currency’s strength remains an issue for companies. While the recovery in the euro area is chugging along, political uncertainty linked to elections across the region next year could undermine demand there.

Contributions to growth came from household spending of just 0.1 percent, while investment in equipment increased 0.5 percent, the SECO said. Government consumption declined 0.1 percent, and the trade balance in goods and services also had a negative effect.

--With assistance from Joshua Robinson and Joel Rinneby To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Bosley in Zurich at cbosley1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Zoe Schneeweiss, Jana Randow

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