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Economic forecast Slight increase predicted in Swiss GDP

Some Swiss companies reacted to the downturn by instituting shorter workings hours in order to remain competitive


According to economic forecasts released Thursday by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), overall growth in GDP for 2015 is projected at 0.9% – up 0.1% from the forecast in June.

Despite slight improvements in the exchange rate in recent weeks, SECO expects the Swiss economy to remain subdued in the second half of the year. It predicted moderate acceleration to 1.5% for 2016, compared with an increase of 1.6% predicted in June. 

In view of the restrained pace of recovery, SECO predicted a rise in average annual unemployment from 3.3% in 2015 to 3.6% in 2016.

SECO stated that an improvement in the economic situation depends on continued improvement in the global economy, and particularly on continued recovery in the euro zone. 

The global economy displayed moderate growth in the first half of 2015, with opposing trends between developed and emerging markets. Whereas the US economy regained momentum and slow recovery continued in the euro zone, there was a further slowdown of the economy in many developing markets. 

The sharp rise in the value of the Swiss franc from mid-January put a significant brake on the Swiss economy during the first half of 2015. When the Swiss National Bank abandoned its euro-franc peg, the appreciation in the Swiss franc had a negative impact on the export of goods and services, with declines in prices across a broad front.

The declines were reflected in painful margin losses absorbed by many companies in order to remain competitive. However, the mood among Swiss companies appeared not to have worsened over the summer, said SECO, with key sentiment indicators such as the KOF surveys and the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) showing signs of stabilisation.

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