Bloomberg News

Swiss Economy Contracted in Second Quarter on Export Drop

September 04, 2012

The Swiss economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter for the first time in almost a year, as exports declined and companies cut spending.

Gross domestic product fell 0.1 percent from the first quarter, when it rose a revised 0.5 percent, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern said today. That’s the first contraction since the third quarter of 2011. Economists forecast a gain of 0.2 percent, the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. In the year, the economy grew 0.5 percent after expanding 1.2 percent in the first quarter.

The Swiss economy is faltering as the euro area’s deepening slump and waning global growth erode export demand, forcing companies to lower costs. The Swiss central bank a year ago imposed a franc cap to ward off deflation risks, with President Thomas Jordan yesterday saying any further currency gains would pose “a very substantial threat” to the economy.

“It’s a surprisingly weak outcome,” said David Marmet, chief Swiss economist at Zuercher Kantonalbank in Zurich. “We still don’t see any risk of recession, however. Still, the second half will be weaker than the first overall.”

The franc traded at 1.2009 against the euro at 8:16 a.m. in Zurich, unchanged on the day. It was at 95.24 centimes versus the dollar.

Exports Drop

The state secretariat had previously reported that GDP increased 0.7 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months and 2 percent from a year earlier.

Consumer spending rose 0.3 percent from the first quarter, when it increased 0.9 percent, today’s report showed. Gross fixed capital formation including construction spending stalled after rising 0.2 percent in the previous three months. Exports of goods excluding precious metals, jewelry and antiques dropped 0.7 percent after falling 0.5 percent in the first quarter. Domestic demand fell 0.2 percent in the quarter.

The state secretariat is scheduled to publish full-year GDP estimates on Sept. 18. On June 12, it forecast the economy would expand 1.4 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2013. The Swiss National Bank will hold its assessment on Sept. 13.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net


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