Switzerland’s economy expanded more than forecast in the first quarter, with consumer spending helping it perform better than the neighboring euro area.
Gross domestic product rose 0.6 percent from the fourth quarter, when it advanced by a revised 0.3 percent, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern said in a statement today. Economists predicted a rise of 0.2 quarter-on-quarter, the median of 19 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. “We expected half that growth,” said Cornelia Luchsinger, an economist at Zuercher Kantonalbank. “It’s a positive surprise.”
The Swiss National Bank (SNBN) set a cap of 1.20 per euro on the franc in 2011 to ward off deflation and a recession. Along with consumer demand, that ceiling has helped shield Switzerland from the six quarters of recession that have afflicted the euro area, the destination for nearly half its exports. Germany, the bloc’s largest economy, expanded only 0.1 percent in the first quarter.
An easing of tensions in the euro area caused the euro to rise 0.8 percent in the first quarter against the franc, which investors tend to buy when they seek safe assets. The Swiss currency was little changed at 1.2433 at 9:05 a.m. in Zurich. Against the dollar it climbed 0.3 percent at 95.94 centimes. Falling Prices
While Switzerland has managed to escape an economic slump, consumer prices are still falling. In April, they recorded their 19th straight month of annual declines, and last week SNB Presi...