The Swiss economy grew 0.5 percent in the first
three months of the year compared with the previous quarter,
when it posted quarterly growth of 0.2 percent. Economists in a
Reuters poll had forecast growth of 0.6 percent.
The health of Switzerland's economy underscores the success of
the Swiss National Bank's policy of capping the franc at 1.20
per euro in 2011, when the strong currency provoked falls in
prices and squeezed exports and tourism.
Recent data have shown exports are gradually recovering. Sales
abroad of vehicles and chemical and pharmaceutical products
spurred a 2.2 percent increase in total exports
quarter-on-quarter, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
An increase in sales of chemicals and jewelry was behind a rise
in April exports, pointing to a favorable outlook for the Swiss
Investment in construction jumped 2.7 percent during a mild
winter. However, private consumption, which has supported
Switzerland through periods of weak demand for exports, grew
just 0.1 percent in the first quarter compared with 0.7 percent
the quarter before.
"Private consumption has slowed, thus limiting the risk of
spiral ling consumer prices. In addition, firms remain cautious
and are refraining from spending on equipment," Credit Suisse
economist Maxime Botteron said. "This trend allows the Swiss
National Bank to keep its very accommodative monetary policy in
Gross domestic product rose 2.0 percent on an annual basis,
beating expectations of 1.9 percent and up from 1.7 percent in
the prior quarter, the SECO said.
The Swiss central bank, due to hold its next quarterly policy
meeting on June 19, has forecast growth of about 2 percent for
(Editing by Larry King)
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