Switzerland’s economic growth eased sharply in the fourth quarter as the restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic dampened the service sector activity, especially tourism.
Gross domestic product gained 0.3 percent sequentially, much slower than the 7.6 percent expansion seen in the third quarter, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, said Friday. GDP was forecast to climb 0.1 percent.
Tighter virus-related restrictions and a renewed slump in the neighboring Eurozone means that activity is likely to remain weak in the first quarter, Melanie Debono, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
But as elsewhere, the economy is clearly holding up much better than during the first lockdown, the economist added.
On a yearly basis, GDP dropped 1.6 percent, following a 1.4 percent decrease in the third quarter. However, this was slower than the 2.1 percent decrease economists’ had forecast.
The second wave of the coronavirus until the end of 2020 had much less of an impact on the economy than the first wave did last spring, the agency said.
Data showed that major losses were reported in the services directly affected by the tightening of the containment measures, while other industries continued to recover.
Value added in accommodation and food services plunged 20.8 percent, as well as in arts, entertainment and recreation by 7.7 percent. Meanwhile, manufacturing and construction grew 1.4 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
The expenditure-side breakdown showed that private consumption decreased 1.5 percent, while government spending grew 2.3 percent.
Equipment and software investment was up 1.9 percent and construction investment gained 0.1 percent.
Exports of goods decreased 1 percent, while services exports rose 0.4 percent. At the same time, imports of goods and services slid 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
The survey data from the KOF Swiss Economic Institute showed that economic activity will be more lively for the next few months. The indicator rose to 102.7 in February from 96.5 in January. The expected reading was 96.6.
Source: Read Full Article