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Swiss trade association cautiously optimistic about economic growth

Switzerland’s major employer organisation is cautiously optimistic about prospects for the Swiss economy but does not expect rapid growth in the coming months because of global economic developments.

This content was published on July 21, 1999 - 11:57

Switzerland’s major employer organisation is cautiously optimistic about prospects for the Swiss economy but does not expect rapid growth in the coming months because of global economic developments.

Presenting its economic assessment on Wednesday, the Swiss Trade and Industry Association (Vorort) said the global economic situation appeared to become more stable -- particularly in light of the continued robust development of the United States economy and the foreseeable upturn in Europe.

Those positive developments still had to be seen against the background of continuing risks, the agency cautioned.

It underlined the possibility of a sudden plunge at the U.S. stock market, the tense overall situation of the U.S. economy and the still shaky economic situation of many threshold nations in the wake of the Asian financial crisis and its near-global fallout.

While the trade association lamented the stagnation of Swiss exports and the slow pace of domestic growth, the organisation nevertheless expressed confidence about growth prospects in the future.

Switzerland had streamlined much of its industrial production, the service sector was again performing solidly and the labour market situation had also improved, the trade association underlined in its report.

It called on the Swiss National Bank to pursue its policy of price stability but also allow enough room for economic growth with its monetary policy.

New government figures released on Wednesday appeared to signal a slight improvement for Swiss exports.

The customs authorities said exports had increased by 0.5 percent in the first half of this year. This was largely due to a 30 percent increase of exports to the U.S. and Canada.

The situation in the labour market also showed signs of recovery as the official unemployment rate fell to 2.6 percent in June – the lowest figure since June 1995. However, at least part of the drop was due to seasonal developments, with the construction industry again picking up.

While there has been a drop in unemployment in all major sectors of the Swiss economy in recent months, unemployment continues to hit non-Swiss citizens the hardest: about half of all those out of work are foreigners.

The gender gap also persisted in the labour market as there was still 1 percent more women without a job than men.


From staff and wire reports.


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