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Economics minister calls for spending

The Swiss should keep their purses open during the current financial crisis, says Economics Minister Doris Leuthard.

At a conference on Saturday, Leuthard said that people should not panic, but continue to shop normally and plan for any investments they needed to make.

Speaking to an assembly of women from her centre-right Christian Democrat party in Frauenfeld in northeastern Switzerland, the minister said that it was important to support the economy using measures that would have a rapid effect.

The government's package to boost the domestic economy, the second stage of which was announced in mid February, would only start to bear fruit in autumn. This means consumption is key at the moment, she added, advising against people making too many savings.

Leuthard said that the economic outlook until 2010 did not look good and that lay-offs would certainly increase in the months to come. Women could be affected more because job cuts normally affect part-time and temporary contracts first, she warned.

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