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Job loss fears trigger fall in consumer index

Consumer sentiment in Switzerland has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, according the latest quarterly index of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco).

A survey of 1,100 households in April showed Swiss consumers took a more sceptical view of the economy and their personal finances, while fears about job losses increased sharply, reaching the highest level since 1997.

So far, consumers have kept up spending, cushioning some of the slump in exports and company investment that has dragged the economy down.

The consumer sentiment index dropped to –38 points in the second quarter from –23 points in the previous survey in January.

The Swiss National Bank has forecast that the economy will shrink by up to three per cent this year, which would be the worst recession since 1975.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR