† The Swiss economy’s recovery continued in the 3rd quarter
The Swiss economy further recovered in the third quarter of 2021, still supported by the recovery in private consumption following the easing of restrictions related to the coronavirus.
Swiss gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed pre-pandemic levels, rising 1.7% between July and the end of September, after rising 1.8% during the previous partial rise.
At the end of September, GDP exceeded the level reached in the 4th quarter of 2019 by more than 1%, i.e. before the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic, the Secretariat of State for the Economy (Seco) noted. Adjusted for sporting events, third-quarter wealth creation rose 1.5% over three months, after rising 1.6% between April and the end of June. Calculated over a year, it increased by 4.1%.
The continued recovery of the Swiss economy matched economists’ forecasts polled by AWP. They had expected quarterly GDP growth of between 0.5 and 2%, with most forecasters expecting growth of more than 1.3%. The annual variation exceeded forecasts, with expectations fluctuating between 1.7 and 3.3%.
Thanks to the major easing or lifting of restrictions related to the health situation before the summer, the services sector, which has been hard hit by the latter measures, showed the strongest growth, starting with the hospitality industry whose GDP increased by 110.6% . The reopened establishments also benefited from the return of foreign tourists. However, the industry remains a long way from pre-Covid-19 levels.
Increase for services
The domain of art, entertainment and leisure (+24.9%) also experienced very strong growth in the wake of the relaxation. Transport and communication (+4.4%) also recovered, benefiting from the renewed mobility of the population. Most other service activities also saw their value creation increase.
On the other hand, the trend turned out to be less favorable for trade: production fell by 3.9% in the quarter under review. However, the services of Economy Minister Guy Parmelin note that this is a normalization after the strong spring recovery, especially in retail sales.
Purchases of foodstuffs, household appliances and electronics in particular fell, while spending on travel, catering, leisure and culture rose sharply. Overall, private consumption (+2.7%) continued the strong recovery that started in the previous quarter, with imports increasing accordingly (+3.1%).
On the investment side, construction activities almost came to a standstill (+0.1%), the sector generally showed a modest evolution in terms of value creation (+0.2%). Expenditure on capital goods contracted (-1.3%), as did expenditure on research and development, after a sharp increase in the second quarter.
Weigh delivery issues
Investment activity was also negatively impacted by global delivery issues, particularly in the automotive industry. These distortions have also not been without consequences at the level of production, which has collapsed in certain industrial branches, such as the manufacture of metal products and vehicles.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, Switzerland’s main export sector, continued its strong growth. All in all, the manufacturing industry posted strong growth (+2.0%). As a result, shipments of goods abroad increased (+2.3%), while exports of services decreased (-2.2%).
In light of key indicators already known for the first two months of the last quarter of the year, the growth of the Swiss economy should continue. The Seco will announce the figures at the end of February.
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