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Swiss KOF Barometer Continued Downward Trend in March

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March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Switzerland’s KOF economic indicator decreased for a sixth month in March, suggesting the economy is still not on firm footing.

The monthly index, which aims to predict the economy’s direction about six months ahead, dropped to 0.99 from a revised 1.04 in February, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich said in an e-mailed statement today. Economists forecast an unchanged reading of 1.04, according to the median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

The indicator’s pace of decline tapered off, the KOF Institute said.

“The trend, however, now indicates a stabilization,” it said. “The year-on-year growth rate of Swiss gross domestic product in the near future can therefore be expected to remain positive.”

Th country has managed to escape the prolonged downturn that has befallen the euro area, its biggest trading partner, even as the strong franc weighs on exports.

The Swiss National Bank, which has a cap of 1.20 per euro on the franc to shield the economy from the euro area’s crisis, expects growth of 1 percent to 1.5 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Bosley in Zurich at cbosley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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