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Swiss GDP Growth Improves In Q3

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Switzerland's economic growth accelerated unexpectedly in the third quarter driven by higher exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products, figures from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, revealed Thursday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.4 percent sequentially in the third quarter, after rising 0.3 percent a quarter ago. Economists had forecast the rate to ease to 0.2 percent.

On a yearly basis, growth advanced to 1.1 percent from 0.2 percent in the second quarter. This was also faster than the expected 0.8 percent expansion.

The expenditure-side breakdown of GDP showed that private and government spending grew 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

After a weak quarter, equipment and software investment advanced 0.7 percent and construction investment climbed 0.2 percent.

Exports of goods excluding valuables gained 0.7 percent and that of services moved up 1.1 percent. Likewise, imports of goods excluding valuables rose 1.1 percent and imports of services gained 0.9 percent.

The stronger-than-expected rise in quarterly Swiss GDP growth in the third quarter was a bit of a relief but the outcome was skewed by weather-related effects and masks underlying weakness, particularly in services, David Oxley, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

In short, the Swiss economy is not out of the woods yet, Oxley added.

An intensification of trade tensions between the US and China, or a trade battle between the EU and the US, could have a significant impact on the Swiss economy, Charlotte de Montpellier, an economist at ING, said.

Turbulence on the financial markets could also push the Swiss franc to appreciate and lead to a decline in Swiss exports, the economist noted.

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