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Less invested abroad in 2007

Direct investments abroad fell by a third last year but other countries spent record amounts in Switzerland, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) reported on Thursday.

Swiss companies spent about SFr60 billion ($57 billion) in 2007 on foreign direct investments, down 37.3 per cent from the record level of SFr95 billion in 2006.

The decline reflected a sharp drop in acquisitions by manufacturing industries, the SNB reported in a statement. Swiss banks cut foreign investments by half compared with 2006.

Swiss companies were particularly put off by the faltering United States economy and disinvested about SFr7.5 billion from it.

Swiss businesses focused instead on investments in Europe, Central America and South America, where direct investments totalled about SFr56 billion in 2007.

Foreign investments in Switzerland, however, increased dramatically to a record SFr59 billion in 2007. This represents a 53 per cent increase from SFr39 billion in 2006, the previous record.