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GDP growth slows in first quarter

Swiss gross domestic product (GDP) grew in the first quarter of 2011 by 0.3 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

This figure, published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) on Tuesday, is less than the 0.8 per cent increase seen in the previous quarter. However, looking further back, GDP growth was still 2.4 per cent up on the first quarter of 2010.

According to Seco, positive growth was generated by the trade balance, construction investment and to a lesser extent by private consumption.

The growth in consumption was primarily the result of expansion in the housing and healthcare sectors along with the “other” category – mainly banking services and insurance. Consumption spending on food and clothing fell, however.

Government consumption increased in the first quarter by 0.3 per cent over the previous quarter.

Construction investment grew sharply by 2.7 per cent. In comparison, capital spending declined by 2.7 per cent, after having registered a strong increase during the last quarter of 2010. Negative growth could be observed in particular in vehicle investments and software categories.

As in the fourth quarter of 2010, the export of goods (excluding precious metals, gemstones, as well as objects of art and antiques) also expanded markedly in the first quarter of 2011 by 3.1 per cent.

The machinery and electronics categories in particular, along with precision and optical instruments, clocks, watches and jewellery contributed to this growth. and agencies


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