Swiss economy beats forecasts for 2014

The Swiss economy grew by two percent in 2014, up from 1.9 percent in the previous year, according to initial figures released by Bern on Tuesday.

Swiss economy beats forecasts for 2014
Photo: Swissmem

The better than expected pace of growth was bolstered by record exports and strong domestic consumer spending, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said in a report.

The gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 from the previous quarter, Seco said.

That rate was double what economists had forecast on average for the final three months of the year.

The figures indicate that Switzerland's economy continued to outpace those of its European neighbours.

But the performance came before the Swiss National Bank decided in January to abandon a 1.20-franc peg against the euro allowing foreign currency traders to bid up the value of the Swiss currency.

The franc briefly soared beyond parity with the euro before dropping back (the euro was trading at around 1.075 francs on Tuesday morning), signalling trouble for the Swiss economy this year.

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, recently lowered its forecast for Swiss economic growth this year to 0.5 percent from 1.8 percent but that was before the latest figures were released.

A strong franc adversely impacts Swiss exporters and key sectors such as the tourism by making goods and services more expensive to customers from outside the country.

Seco said cross-border trade in goods and services (excluding non-monetary gold and valuables) delivered a positive contribution of 1.4 percentage points to the growth in GDP last year, "the strongest since 2008".

Private household consumption also made a positive contribution to GDP growth (up 0.5 percentage points), it said.

Seco said figures for the last six years show that many prices for consumer goods, investment, exports and imports have stagnated and even decreased slightly.

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