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Couchepin eyes interest rate cut

Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, wants to see lower interest rates at home

(Keystone)

The time is right for an interest rate cut by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to boost the economy's growth, Swiss economics minister Pascal Couchepin has told a Swiss newspaper.

He was quoted on Wednesday in the online version of the Berner Zeitung as saying that, in his personal opinion, a rate cut by the fully independent central bank would be appropriate, echoing comments made in an interview on Sunday.

He reiterated that he assumed the economy would grow by 1.5 per cent this year, which was at the lower end of sustainable growth. With the unemployment rate at below two per cent, the situation was "not catastrophic", he added.

Economists widely expect the SNB to cut key short-term rates by a quarter percentage point next month.

The economy grew by 2.5 per cent in the first three months of the year from the same period a year ago. Most economists so far have forecast growth by at least 2 per cent this year, while the SNB itself predicts growth at 2 per cent.

The central bank last cut borrowing costs in March, when it shaved a quarter percentage point off its 2.75 per cent to 3.75 per cent target range for the benchmark three-month London Interbank Offered Rate.

swissinfo with agencies


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