Swiss economy fails to grow as EU stagnates

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Switzerland's economy failed to grow in the second quarter of the year, according to the country's State Secretariat for Economics.

The much weaker-than-expected figure came after exports were affected by weakness in the rest of Europe and construction spending fell.

The zero growth in the quarter was the weakest performance for two years.

Compared with a year earlier gross domestic product (GDP) was 0.6% higher, well below forecasts of 1.7%.

"For us it's really below expectations. We expected a bit more growth," said Maxime Botteron from Credit Suisse.

"The trend in exports is not a big surprise. Trade data so far already pointed to a rather weak contribution of exports. What is a bit more surprising is the weak investment spending, especially in the construction sector."

At the weekend, the chairman of the Swiss National Bank, Thomas Jordan, said that macroeconomic and geopolitical risks may lead to the bank cutting growth forecasts.

Figures released last month showed that the eurozone - a key export market for Switzerland - recorded zero growth in the second quarter of the year.

The lack of growth has raised the pressure on the European Central Bank - which holds its latest meeting on Thursday - to take measures to stimulate the eurozone.

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