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Industry revels in boom

Swiss industry is reporting a very strong start to the year, with growth in the machinery, electronic and metallurgy sectors up sharply in the first quarter. It is optimistic the trend will continue.

The umbrella organisation for the three sectors said businesses had registered growth rates of 5.5 per cent in the first three months of the year, putting an end to two years of negative growth earlier than expected.

It said exports had grown particularly fast (6.9 per cent) compared to domestic demand (2.9 per cent). The value of the exports was SFr14 billion, an increase of nearly 15 per cent. The organisation, which represents 180 companies, said such a boom in exports had not been seen since the early 1980s.

The most dynamic markets were the United States ( 20 per cent) and Asia ( 36 per cent), while the European Union was lagging behind ( 11 per cent).

The organisation said the number of orders received from within Switzerland suggested the domestic market would pick up in the course of the year. It said the year as a whole would probably see growth in the order of seven to ten per cent. Already in the first quarter, orders were up 7.1 per cent.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR