Swiss economy hits bottom

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Aymo Brunetti, a top economy ministry official, expects the economy to improve but unemployment to worsen in 2010.

Geneva -- The Swiss economy has reached bottom and should soon return to growth after falling into recession in the first quarter, a top economy ministry official said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.

"I start from the principle that the bottom has been reached," Aymo Brunetti, the head of the ministry's economic policy division, told the Sonntag newspaper.

Switzerland's economy contracted by 0.8 percent in the first quarter after shrinking by 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2008.

Brunetti confirmed forecasts of a minus 2.7 percent decline in the rate of growth in 2009 and a small recovery of 0.4 percent in 2010.

But he warned that the country's unemployment rate should continue to deteriorate.

"Unemployment should reach its peak in the winter of 2010-2011," he said.

The country's unemployment rate rose again in July to 3.7 percent, compared with 3.6 percent the previous month.

The economy ministry has forecast a 3.8 percent jobless rate in 2009 and 5.5 percent for 2010, compared with 2.6 percent in 2008.

AFP / Expatica

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