Swiss Economy Pulls Out of Recession in Q3

The Swiss economy pulled out of recession in the third quarter, growing by 0.3% compared to the previous three months, slightly better than expected.

It was the first time gross domestic product had grown since the second quarter of 2008 and followed a contraction of 0.3% in the previous quarter, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

Year-on-year, the economy contracted 1.3%, a smaller decline than the 1.5% fall that had been forecast, although the second-quarter contraction was revised down to 2.4% from a previously reported 2%.

Despite rising unemployment, the SECO said private consumption was still robust, growing 0.6% in the quarter, while exports also recovered and the financial services sector grew again after six quarters of contraction.

Despite mounting evidence that the economy is on the mend, the Swiss National Bank is expected to maintain its expansive monetary policy when it holds its next meeting on Dec. 10, although it might revise its growth forecasts upwards.

The SNB currently forecasts a fall in GDP this year of 1.5 to 2.0% and Chairman Jean-Pierre Roth said last month that 2010 would be another difficult year. But Roth said recently that current policy conditions will have to be corrected soon to avoid medium-term inflationary pressures as the economy improves.

Switzerland's economy slipped into its worst recession in more than three decades in mid-2008, but it has suffered less of a slowdown than some other European countries thanks to resilient consumption. Forward-looking gauges such as the KOF indicator suggest the Swiss economy will continue to recover, but at a slower pace than some economists have expected.

Swiss Economy Pulls Out of Recession in Q3, Reuters
12/1/2009 11:01:26 AM