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Retail turnover rises

Swiss retail sales rose 3.1 per cent in real, non-seasonally adjusted terms in December 2009, compared with the month before, says the Federal Statistics Office.

Compared with December 2008, retail sales for December 2009 were up 4.7 per cent.

“It seems that the recession in Switzerland was not as strong as everyone said it would be as consumption is still quite strong,” said David Marmet from Zurich Cantonal Bank.

“The recession was a problem for the export sector but not for consumption.”

However, analysts see more bumpy times ahead. “We expect consumption will become weaker in the coming months because the unemployment rate will grow slightly, but we’re unlikely to see a steep decline,” Marmet said.

Monday also saw the release of figures showing that the rate of unemployment in Switzerland had risen to 4.5 per cent in January, up from 4.4 per cent in December.

“This unemployment and retail rate show that the Swiss economy is not that bad. In the first half of 2010 we expect the economy will have a strong growth rate,” Marmet added.

Also on Monday, Swiss bank UBS released its outlook for Switzerland’s first quarter. It said it expected economic acceleration in 2010 and had increased its growth forecast from 1.7 per cent to 2.0 per cent. and agencies

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