Switzerland is headed for its fourth straight year of above- trend growth as companies invest in equipment and hire workers to bolster production. The Swiss central bank, which raised the key interest rate eight times since late 2005 to combat inflation, is waiting to assess the impact of the U.S. mortgage crisis.
The fastest rate the Swiss economy can expand without pushing up inflation, the so-called potential rate, is 1.9 percent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. The economy expanded at a rate of 3.2 percent in 2006, after 2.4 percent in 2005 and 2.5 percent in 2004. The OECD expects Swiss growth of 2.7 percent this year.
The economy grew 2.9 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter as a decline in the franc and the longest streak of global growth in a generation are pushing up foreign demand for Swiss products such as watches and power networks.