© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk along the street after the Swiss government relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, at the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street in Zurich, Switzerland March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd W
ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss economy grew by a weaker-than-expected 1.7% during the third quarter, the government said on Friday, as the post pandemic recovery continued between July and September.
The figures, which were not affected by the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Switzerland, were a slight deceleration from the 1.8% increase during the second quarter, and below the 2.0% estimate in a Refinitiv forecast. [S8N2NQ00T]
“By the summer, most of the public health restrictions had been either lifted or considerably relaxed. Thus the strongest growth in the third quarter appeared in sectors that had been most affected by the precautionary measures,” said the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
“Overall, GDP was more than 1% higher in the third quarter than the pre-crisis level seen in the fourth quarter of 2019,” it added.
The biggest increase came in accommodation and food services, where value added more than doubled compared with the previous quarter, SECO said.
Earlier this week, the government decided to hold off on new national restrictions to curb rising coronavirus infections, instead appealing to common sense and local measures to stem the rising tide of cases it described as “critical.”
Bern decided to go in a different direction to neighbouring Austria, which has reintroduced a lockdown this week, ahead of a Swiss vote to decide the fate of the national government’s pandemic response powers.
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