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Weak exports lead to GDP drop

Plummeting exports led to a reduced gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2008, Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said on Tuesday.

Seco reported that the country's GDP fell by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008. That represents a 0.6 per cent decline compared with the same period last year.

Exports of goods and services combined fell by 8.1 per cent although the drop in exports of goods was more pronounced, at 9.4 per cent. The import of goods rose 8.4 per cent.

Seco reported growth in the public services sector (0.7 per cent) and in agriculture (0.1 per cent) but said the market for financial services fell for the fourth straight quarter and that construction declined.

It estimates the real GDP growth rate for 2008 to be 1.6 per cent.

Last month Seco reported unemployment at 3.3 per cent, a two-year high.

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