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Swiss GDP Contracts More Than Expected In Q1

The Swiss economy contracted more than expected in the first quarter as measures taken to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic severely restricted economic activity in March, data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, showed Wednesday.

Gross domestic product fell 2.6 percent sequentially, reversing a 0.3 percent rise in the fourth quarter. Economists had forecast a 2 percent contraction.

On a yearly basis, the economy shrank 1.3 percent after expanding 1.6 percent a quarter ago. This was also faster than the expected -0.9 percent.

Private consumption declined 3.5 percent sequentially in the first quarter. Since shops were closed from March 17, purchases of furniture and clothing dropped sharply, as well as spending on mobility, leisure and health.

Investment in construction dropped 0.4 percent and investment in equipment was down 4.0 percent. The only domestic demand component to underpin the economy was government consumption, which gained 0.7 percent.

Overall, final domestic demand fell 2.7 percent, the biggest decline in recent decades.

Exports of goods rose 3.4 percent, while that of services fell 4.4 percent. At the same time, imports of goods decreased 1.1 percent and imports of services fell 1.2 percent.

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