May 31, 2018 / 8:16 AM / a year ago

Sporting windfall gives boost to Swiss economy

ZURICH, May 31 (Reuters) - Switzerland's economy grew robustly in the first quarter, as a weaker franc supported exports and global sporting events helped fill the coffers of the Swiss-based International Olympic Committee (IOC) and soccer body FIFA.

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 0.6 percent from the previous quarter and 2.2 percent year on year, data from the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) showed on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast growth of 0.5 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

Without the impact of major sporting events, quarter-on-quarter growth was 0.4 percent.

The IOC and FIFA take in significant licensing and television fees.

In particular in years with several global events like the just-finished Winter Olympics in South Korea and the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament in Russia, that can have a dramatic impact on economic growth, SECO said in a statement.

Overall growth "lost some momentum in comparison to the second half of 2017 (but) it was nevertheless broad-based across the various business sectors," SECO said.

Reporting by John Miller; editing by John Stonestreet

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