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More growth for Swiss economy, but pace slowing

Slower growth for Swiss businesses Keystone

The Swiss economy will continue to grow until at least the autumn, although the pace of growth is slowing as overseas demand begins to taper off, the Swiss Institute for Business Cycle Research (KOF) said on Thursday.

KOF, which is part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, said that in industry, the pace of growth had been slowing since mid-2000. However, it added that this had been mainly offset by strong domestic demand, with overall capacity use rising to a seasonally adjusted 84.2 per cent.

A survey of about 5,000 companies found that there was cautious optimism as regards expected orders in the next three months, signalling a further expansion of output in the months ahead.

For the second three months of 2001, 31 per cent of companies expected higher purchasing prices, while 64 per cent foresaw steady prices. Only 18.3 per cent of firms said that they planned to increase their selling prices.

In the building sector, first quarter production grew at a notably slower rate than in preceding quarters. However, there were still a majority of companies in the sector that expected to see more orders in the current quarter.

In the consumer sector, companies reported notably higher sales and positive expectations for the current quarter.

Earlier on Thursday, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern found that consumer confidence had slipped four points in April, down from the record plus 25 level seen in January.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR