Swiss economy unexpectedly grows in first quarter

AP News
Posted: May 31, 2012 5:15 AM
Swiss economy unexpectedly grows in first quarter

Switzerland's economy unexpectedly grew during the first quarter of 2012.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said Thursday that real gross domestic product rose 0.7 percent in the first three months compared with the previous quarter.

Economists had predicted zero growth in the first quarter as Switzerland's main trading partner, the European Union, struggles with unemployment and a public debt crisis.

But a Swiss National Bank decision last year to set a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 francs to the euro has helped exporters.

Exports of goods were down just 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter while exports of services rose 2.6 percent.

Private consumption grew by 0.6 percent compared with the previous quarter helped by low interest rates.