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Economic growth hits five-year low again

Switzerland's leading economic growth barometer predicts a recession around the turn of the year as export and manufacturing markets suffer and consumers buy less.

Figures released on Friday show that the KOF Swiss Economic Institute indicator, which evaluates the economy's likely performance six months from now, hit a new five-year low in October.

In July, the indicator was as low as it had been since July 2003. It has continued to tumble, falling to 0.35 in October from a downwardly revised 0.52 in September.

The institute's forecasters predict the Swiss economy will grow just 0.3 per cent in 2009, capping a five-year boom.

Figures released on Friday by Creditreform, the country's association of creditors, showed 499 businesses declared bankruptcy in October, a record for one month.