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Swiss industry body sees growth slowing in 2011

ZURICH, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Swiss firms in the electrical, machinery and metals sectors expect slower growth next year after the industry booked the first rise in revenue in nearly two years in the third quarter, lobby group Swissmem said. Third quarter sales posted the first year-on-year rise in seven quarters though they surpassed the previous year's level by just 0.1 percent, Swissmem said on Friday. But new orders growth weakened to 5 percent, versus an increase of nearly 16 percent in the first half of the year. "While Swissmem is expecting the current positive trend to continue into 2011, the pace of growth may well slow," the industry body said. Faster order growth in Germany highlights the impact the strong Swiss franc had had on demand for products made in Switzerland, Swissmem said. The franc has risen sharply since the Swiss National Bank ended its interventions earlier this year and has hit record highs against both the euro and the dollar. The Swiss economy has recovered strongly from last year's recession and the central bank expects economic growth of around 2.5 percent this year. While the Swiss National Bank sees a marked slowdown next year, industry surveys and economic data point only to a moderate cooling so far. Swissmem said that the capacity utilisation in the industry reached 85 percent in the third quarter, up from 76 percent in the first quarter and just shy of the long-term average of 86 percent. (Reporting by Sven Egenter, editing by Sujata Rao) Keywords: SWISS ECONOMY/INDUSTRY (sven-markus.egenter@thomsonreuters.com; +41.58.306.7351; Reuters Messaging: sven-markus.egenter.reuters.com@reuters.net) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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