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Uncertainty reigns over prospects for recovery

Some researchers are positive about the economy while others expect exports to drop

(Keystone)

Two separate business surveys published on Friday have sent out mixed signals on the state of the Swiss economy.

The Swiss Business Cycle Research Institute (KOF) revised its economic barometer upwards predicting a modest improvement to the Swiss economy within the next six to nine months.

In May, economic researchers at KOF - which is part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich - said the economy was approaching its lowest point and recovery would start in the second and third quarters.

But in a separate quarterly survey published on Friday by the Business Economists' Consensus (BEC), analysts said they expected a GDP growth rate of 1.1 per cent during 2002, 0.1 per cent lower than was reported in the previous survey published in March.

Weak export figures

Experts said the country's weak export figures - predicted to grow by only 0.5 per cent this year - were also contributing to the economic slowdown.

In March, the BEC - a team of 30 economists drawn from Swiss banks, insurance companies and research institutes - predicted exports would grow by as much as two per cent during 2002.

The BEC economists - who are asked every quarter to give their forecasts on the Swiss economy and financial markets - also cited the unexpected slump in investments as evidence of the slowdown in the Swiss economy.

The survey suggests investment will contract by just under two per cent in 2002, while exports are expected to grow by just 0.5 per cent this year.

More jobless

The BEC also predicts the economic slowdown will have an impact on the rate of unemployment in Switzerland, which is forecast to rise by 2.4 per cent during 2002.

But analysts predict the jobless rate is likely to fall slightly in 2003 to 2.2 per cent.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern has forecast that the economy would grow this year by one per cent, a figure which has also been put forward by the Swiss National Bank.

swissinfo with agencies


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