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Swiss exporters less gloomy as currency concerns ease -survey

* Credit Suisse export barometer at -0.86 in Q4

* 5 out of 8 sectors see exports on growth trajectory

* Fewer firms see franc strength hitting exports

ZURICH, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Swiss small and medium-sizedcompanies are less worried about the strength of the franc thanin the previous quarter and most industry sectors expect exportsto rise in the fourth quarter, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Swiss exporters have benefited from the cap imposed on thefranc at 1.20 per euro a year ago as the central bank aimed tocurb the currency's strength although many still see it asovervalued.

The SME export indicator showed 64 percent of companiessurveyed at the start of the fourth quarter expect the franc'sstrength to slow export growth, down from 70 percent in theprevious quarter. The index is compiled by Credit Suisse andOSEC, an organisation that promotes Swiss foreign trade.

After months of testing the 1.20 limit as the euro zonecrisis flared, the franc has weakened in recent weeks to tradeat around 1.21 per euro.

Of the more than 200 firms surveyed, 79 percent said thestrong franc was adversely affecting their profit marginscompared with 81 percent in the previous quarter, with themetal, precision instruments and electrical engineeringindustries feeling the biggest squeeze.

Swiss exports have held up relatively well, growing stronglyin August despite flagging global growth as companies managed toride out the impact of the strong franc.

The export barometer, which records foreign demand for Swissproducts, improved in the fourth quarter, rising to -0.86, from-0.92 in the previous quarter, and moving further away from thegrowth threshold of -1.

Five of the eight sectors surveyed see themselves on agrowth trajectory at the start of the fourth quarter, up fromjust three in the previous quarter. They were led by theelectrical engineering sector, which expects significant growththis quarter.

The export prospects indicator stood at 56.3 points in thefourth quarter, up from 55.2 points and above the growththreshold of 50 points.

Of the firms surveyed, 34.5 percent expect exports to growover the coming quarter, while 45.9 percent expect a stagnationand 19.6 percent see exports declining.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Susan Fenton)

((Caroline.Copley@thomsonreuters.com)(+41 58 306 7354)(ReutersMessaging: caroline.copley.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SWISS ECONOMY/EXPORTS