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Economic barometer falls to record low

Switzerland's leading growth barometer hit a record low in January, according to the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich.

KOF said its indicator, which points to the economy's likely performance in six months time, fell to –0.87, the lowest level since its launch in 1991.

"As was signalled last month, this means the barometer is now confirming that the Swiss economy is set to contract over the coming months," KOF said in a statement on Wednesday.

The January figure was even below the most pessimistic analysts' forecasts in a Reuters poll, which showed an average reading of –0.60.

"Weakness is seen as being broad-based with exports, industry, consumption and banking all expected to decline from current levels over the next few quarters," commented analyst Saara Tuuli at market-research company 4CAST.

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