November 29, 2018 / 7:21 AM / 17 days ago

Swiss economic growth grinds to a halt in Q3

BERLIN, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The Swiss economy unexpectedly contracted in the third quarter, hit by weak domestic consumption and an economic downturn in Germany, its biggest trading partner, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said on Thursday.

Switzerland’s gross domestic product fell by 0.2 percent in the third quarter due to both the industrial and service sectors. It increased by 2.4 percent year-on-year, the SECO said in a statement.

“The strong, continuous growth phase enjoyed by the Swiss economy for one and a half years was suddenly interrupted. Switzerland is thus following the significant economic downturn seen at the same time in other European countries, particularly Germany,” the SECO said.

Manufacturing and the energy sector both declined from strong levels and exports of goods also contracted, but October’s foreign trade figures pointed to a swift recovery, the SECO said.

In the service sector, trade and the financial sector declined in the third quarter, while business services and the health sector generated moderate growth, the data showed.

The GDP data come amid mixed indicators for Switzerland’s export-led economy.

Swiss industrial production rose 1.4 percent in the third quarter, while non-farm payrolls rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in the quarter to 5.07 million.

The Swiss purchasing managers’ index fell to a seasonally adjusted 57.4 points in October from 59.7 points in the previous month, and Swiss investor sentiment in November dropped to -42.3 points. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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