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Swiss economic prospects hit 2015 high in ZEW poll

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Expectations for Switzerland's economy hit an 18-month high in September, a survey of analysts by Credit Suisse and the German ZEW economic research institute showed on Wednesday.

[ZURICH] Expectations for Switzerland's economy hit an 18-month high in September, a survey of analysts by Credit Suisse and the German ZEW economic research institute showed on Wednesday.

The Alpine nation's export-heavy economy has been hampered in 2015 by a surge in the Swiss franc, sparked by the Swiss National Bank's shock January move to end a 1.20-per-euro cap on the franc.

A robust domestic economy and a gradual weakening of the franc, which is trading at around 1.09 per euro, helped Switzerland avoid an anticipated recession in the first half of 2015.

In another positive sign, the Swiss ZEW indicator, which gauges financial analysts' economic expectations for the coming six months, rose by 3.8 points in September to 9.7 points, its highest since March 2014.

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However, the research group cautioned that uncertainty over the economy's growth outlook was "running high". "A little more than a third of all survey respondents expect it to pick up, a quarter of them anticipate a deterioration and the remainder foresee no change in Switzerland's economic situation," the institute said in a statement.

The SNB will deliver its quarterly policy assessment on Thursday and almost all of those surveyed expect no changes to Swiss interest rates in the near term.

A Reuters poll last week predicted that Switzerland's central bank would keep interest rates steady until at least the end of next year as it tries to weaken the franc.

At its June meeting, the SNB forecast inflation of -1.0 per cent for 2015 and -0.4 per cent for 2016.

In the ZEW survey, three quarters of respondents predicted inflation would be unchanged in the near term, while the rest saw it increasing.

"Remarkably, not a single financial analyst surveyed projected a falling inflation rate for Switzerland, the euro zone or the USA," the institute said. "This may have some connection with expectations of rising or at least stable oil prices."

REUTERS

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