Gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2024: Swiss economy sees below-average growth

Bern, 30.05.2024 - In the first quarter of 2024, Switzerland's GDP adjusted for sporting events grew by 0.3%. *,** This continues the moderate economic growth of the previous quarter (+0.3%). The services sector grew again and private consumption increased solidly. However, industrial output stagnated.

Value added in manufacturing (−0.2%) fell slightly in the first quarter, and the chemical and pharmaceutical industry (−0.9%) continued the weak performance of recent quarters. In other industries, value added remained largely stable. The construction industry (+0.3%) expanded slightly as a result of rising turnover in building and civil engineering projects, while the development in construction investment (−0.2%) was somewhat less favourable. The energy sector (+2.1%) was the only industrial sector to record solid growth; energy exports also increased. Overall, value added in the industrial sector stagnated.

The services sector was the main driver of GDP growth in the first quarter, although performance was somewhat uneven. Financial services (−0.2%) recorded a slight fall in value added, while business-related services (−0.3%) also contracted. The transport and communication sector (−0.0%) was stagnant. In particular, freight transport showed only modest growth due to the weakness of the industrial sector. In contrast, value added in the accommodation and food services sector (+1.3%), health and social care services (+0.8%) and public administration (+0.2%) grew at a rate close to their respective historical averages. The retail sector (+1.4%) grew at an above-average rate, so that trade (+1.3%) also posted a positive result overall.

Reflecting the positive performance in retail, private consumption (+0.4%) grew solidly. This was mainly due to spending on food and non-food items, as well as on housing and health care. General government consumption (+0.2%) also increased slightly. Finally, the positive development of domestic final demand (+0.4%) was supported by investments in equipment (+0.8%), which increased for the first time after three consecutive negative quarters. In particular, there was an increase in investment in vehicles, IT and research and development.

In line with domestic demand, imports*** (+2.0%) of goods and services also grew strongly in the first quarter. On the other hand, goods exports**** (−3.3%) fell, partly due to a decline in transit trade. Services exports***** (+1.0%) increased slightly. Overall, foreign trade made a negative contribution to GDP growth.

NB:
The Swiss National Bank introduced a new current account survey from the first quarter of 2023.****** It is possible that the data available for the first quarter will be revised to a greater extent than usual at a later date. Data items from the current account are used at various points in compiling the Swiss National Accounts. As a result, larger than usual revisions may be necessary in the coming quarters.

Further information on GDP in the first quarter can be found in the summer 2024 edition of Konjunkturtendenzen (Economic situation in Switzerland) at www.seco.admin.ch/gdp.

* Compared to the 'GDP flash' published around 45 days after the end of the quarter (+0.2%), GDP has been revised slightly upwards on the basis of updated source data.
** To facilitate cyclical interpretation, this press release provides quarter-on-quarter growth rates in real terms, seasonally adjusted and (where applicable) adjusted for sporting events. The adjustment for sporting events concerns GDP, the 'arts, entertainment and recreation' sector, and service exports and imports. Fur-ther information on the adjustment for sporting events can be found at www.seco.admin.ch/gdp under 'Doc-uments'. Not adjusted for sporting events: +0.5% in the first quarter of 2024 and +0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023.
*** Excluding valuables.
**** Goods excluding valuables.
***** Not adjusted for sporting events: +2.7%.
****** https://data.snb.ch/en/topics/aube/doc/changerev_aube#rev_aube_nlbe.


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