Swiss economy grew 1.8% in Q2 as easing restrictions help recovery

ZURICH, Sept. 2 (Reuters) – The Swiss economy grew 1.8% in the second quarter from the first three months of 2020, as the easing of COVID-19 restrictions helped reverse two consecutive quarters of decline, official data showed Thursday.

Swiss GDP grew even more sharply year on year, increasing by 7.7%, according to data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as the easing of restrictions linked to the pandemic helped boost the private consumption and the service sector.

“In the second quarter, total GDP was only 0.5% lower than the pre-crisis level seen in the fourth quarter of 2019,” SECO said in a statement.

The Swiss government raised its forecast for economic growth in June as the easing of restrictions on coronaviruses helped boost confidence in the country’s economic recovery and hopes GDP could exceed pre-crisis levels earlier. . He said the Swiss economy is expected to grow 3.6% this year.

It had contracted 0.4% in the first quarter of 2021, as pandemic restrictions hit production.

SECO said on Thursday that the service sectors that had been hit the hardest by the restrictions added the most value in the second quarter, with accommodation and food services up 48.9% and arts, entertainment and leisure up 52.9%, although both remain below pre-crisis levels.

Inflation also accelerated in Switzerland, with consumer prices rising 0.9% year-on-year in August and 0.2% from the previous month, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Thursday.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Michael Shields)

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