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[ZURICH] Switzerland's economy unexpectedly grew in the second quarter to avoid a first recession since 2009, indicating the impact from the central bank's removal of a currency cap has been less severe than first feared.
The economy grew by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter from the previous quarter, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said on Friday, topping even the most optimistic forecast in a Reuters poll of 12 analysts.
The poll had forecast the US$690 billion Swiss economy had shrunk 0.1 per cent in the second quarter. This would have been the first back-to-back contraction in six years.
Growth was helped by a sharp drop in imports of goods as well as positive exports from the watch, jewelry and pharmaceutical industries.
Switzerland's currency soared after the Swiss National Bank in January lifted its limit on its value at 1.20 to the euro, in place since September 2011.
The cap was put in place largely to protect the export-reliant economy, and the currency's gains led economists and the SNB to slash growth forecasts.