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Downturn has greater impact than expected

The international economic downturn and the financial crisis are having a greater impact on the Swiss economy than anticipated.

That is the conclusion of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute. The results of its latest surveys were published on Friday.

Production in all fields, KOF said, slowed, stagnated or sank in the 4th quarter of 2008.

This hit exports and banks particularly hard. For the first half of 2009 none of the sectors are expecting demand to grow.

The Swiss economy is likely to contract significantly during the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2009, KOF added.

It is through foreign trade that Switzerland is being affected by the downturn. As the latest foreign trade statistics show, exports in all sectors fell sharply in the 4th quarter.

KOF said exporters were not only hurt by the inhospitable economic environment, but also by the rise in the value of the Swiss franc.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR