Industrial sector shows dynamic growth

Swiss watchmakers are particularly optimistic Keystone

Industrial activity in Switzerland has risen sharply in the first quarter of 2006, climbing to its highest level for six years, according to a survey by bank UBS.

This content was published on April 12, 2006

Switzerland's largest bank said on Wednesday that it expected the upturn to continue unabated in the second quarter of the year.

A quarterly survey of 330 companies in March showed that all sectors benefited from the strong growth. Firms said they believed that it had not yet peaked.

"The positive results means the entire Swiss economy is likely to shift up a gear in the first half of 2006," UBS said in a statement.

Growth is expected to be more than three per cent for the first two quarters of 2006. The last time such figures were recorded was in the boom phase of 2000, the bank said.

Rise in orders

A majority of companies recorded rising order intakes and while only 15 per cent registered a drop in orders. This was mainly due to increased demand in exports, but domestic business was also significantly higher.

Sales and production figures were also healthy.

The companies survey were "decidedly optimistic" about the second quarter. Capacity utilisation was up, extra staff are being taken on and inventories reduced in order to best meet demand.

The most upbeat sector was watchmaking, followed by the lumber and furniture industry. More cautious, but still positive, were plastics, food and paper, printing and graphics.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Unemployment rate March - 3.6% (seasonally adjusted 3.5%)

Forecast for 2006:
Seco – 3.4%
KOF – 3.4%
BAK – 3.5%
Créa – 3.5%
UBS – 3.4%
CS – 3.3%
OECD 3.9% (November 2005)

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