The Swiss economy grew by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2023, the government said on Thursday, showing the resilience of its economy as other parts of Europe slowed or slipped into recession.

The growth rate was better than the 0.1% forecast in a Reuters poll and was on par with the 0.3% rate in the third quarter. The figures removed the impact of sporting events.

For 2023 as a whole, the Swiss economy expanded by 1.3%, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said on Thursday, down from 2.5% in 2022 and lower than the long term Swiss average of 1.8%.

"The slowdown in growth is related to the process of normalisation following the COVID-19 crisis," SECO said.

"The challenging international environment also weighed on economic development," it added.

The increase contrasted with GDP data from Germany, which is likely to be in a recession, the Bundesbank said last week, as it struggles with weak external demand, consumer caution and subdued domestic investment.

Britain's economy fell into a recession in the second half of 2023, when GDP fell by 0.3% in the fourth quarter after a 0.1% contraction in the third quarter.

For Switzerland, a recovery in tourism supported an improvement in the accommodation and food part of the economy, while there was also an improvement in the energy sector as hydropower plants increased production.

Still, Switzerland's manufacturing sector continued to struggle, SECO said, dragged down by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry which saw declining exports. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Alex Richardson)