Swiss economy may tip into recession: economist

10th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Swiss economy could tip into recession this winter, a noted economist warned in a newspaper interview published Saturday.

Growth slowed in the third quarter to only 0.2 percent over the previous three months, amid a drop in exports blamed on the strong Swiss franc, which is seen as a safe-haven currency in times of financial turmoil.

"It is quite conceivable that we will observe two negative (growth) quarters," Aymo Brunetti, chief economist of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), was quoted as saying by the Aargauer Zeitung.

But he added that "as a whole, the Swiss economy is still doing well".

Brunetti pointed to a weakening in the July-September quarter, when the growth of 0.2 percent over the previous quarter was the lowest rate since the the first half of 2009 when Switzerland was last in recession.

Asked about the eurozone debt crisis, Brunetti said he did not expect the worst-case scenarios to become a reality and assumes that "a solution can be found" -- adding that otherwise "it would really be a disaster".

"The bankruptcies of countries could trigger a massive banking crisis" that could be worse than the 2008 global downturn, he was quoted as saying, adding that in many countries "the public coffers are empty".

© 2011 AFP

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