Switzerland’s economy grew robustly in the first quarter as a weaker franc supported exports and global sporting events helped fill the coffers of the Swiss-based International Olympic Committee (IOC) and world football’s governing body FIFA.
Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 0.6% from the previous quarter and 2.2% year on year, data from the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) showed on Thursday.
The IOC and FIFA take in significant licensing and television fees, which during years with several global events like the just-finished Winter Olympics in South Korea and the upcoming World Cup football tournament in Russia can have a dramatic impact on economic growth, a SECO spokesman said.
Stripping out the impact of major sporting events, quarter-on-quarter growth was 0.4%.
“Even after this adjustment, it is confirmed that while the economic recovery has slowed, it is increasingly reaching domestically oriented sectors,” SECO said in a statementexternal link, citing a 0.4% increase in consumption of household goods and a 3.6% growth in equipment and software investment.
International demand for precision instruments, watches and jewellery helped fuel the export-led economy, with shipments out of the country rising 2%.
In the three-month period, a weakening franc also offered respite for firms squeezed by the currency’s surge after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in January 2015 scrapped a policy of limiting its value against the euro.
With turbulence in Italy knocking European markets on their heels this week and sending the Swiss franc soaring in value, however, SNB leaders are sticking to their strategy of negative interest rates and a readiness to intervene in currency markets if necessary.