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Top Swiss banking official says stock market crisis has peaked

Jean-Pierre Roth, president of the Swiss National Bank, is optimistic about the European economy

(Keystone)

The recent crisis of confidence to hit the world's financial markets has now peaked, Jean-Pierre Roth, president of the Swiss National Bank, said on Sunday.

"I have a feeling the worst is now behind us," said Roth in an interview with the Swiss German newspaper, the "SonntagsZeitung".

But Switzerland's most senior banking official also made it clear that the global economy still needed time to recover. Roth singled out Japan's economy as being of particular concern: "The economic situation in Japan is very difficult, which worries us, but in Europe the outlook is more positive".

The Swiss National Bank has confirmed it expects the national economy to grow by around two per cent in 2001, after a 3.4 per cent increase in 2000.

"Given that the employment market in Switzerland has completely dried up," said Roth, "we can't expect to maintain the same level of economic growth as last year".

He also indicated that the introduction of the euro across Europe next year would have "minimal repercussions" on the future direction of Swiss fiscal policy.

swissinfo with agencies


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