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Economics ministry optimistic about growth

Government experts say the credit crisis in the United States is unlikely to have a major impact on the Swiss economy.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) in Bern left its growth forecast for next year unchanged at 1.9 per cent.

Officials on Thursday said they remained optimistic because of continuing strong exports and consumer spending.

Seco expects economic growth to slow to 1.7 per cent in 2009 as a result of the cooling off of the global economy.

In a statement, Seco predicted that economic growth this year would be 2.8 per cent, slightly higher than the 2.6 per cent in its previous forecast.

Inflation is set to average at 1.6 per cent next year and 1.0 per cent in 2009, while unemployment should stagnate at 2.5 per cent, according to the office.

The Swiss economy recorded 3.2 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product in 2006 – its highest rate of expansion in six years.

Another research group, BAK Basel Economics, announced on Thursday it was sticking to its prediction of a 2.3 per cent GDP growth for next year.

Earlier this week, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute raised its forecasts for 2008 by 0.2 of a percentage point to 2.1 per cent.


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