An upswing with risks – Some reflections on the current economic development

Bruno Gehrig, Vice Chairman of the Governing Board

Annual General Meeting of Industrieholding, Berne, 18 June 2002, 18.06.2002

The Swiss economy - notably the investment goods industry - looks back on a difficult year. It was considerably affected by the global downturn. Activity in the OECD declined from 3.7% in 2000 to a mere 1% in 2001. In the meantime, the signs have been increasing worldwide that the economy is recovering even if diverse risks still threaten the expected upswing.

The Swiss National Bank's (SNB) monetary policy has reacted to changed conditions including the Swiss franc appreciation by cutting interest rates several times. Based on all available information, growth of around 1% is to be expected for the current year, and close to 2% for 2003, with inflation rates of well under 2%. Should any unexpected developments - also in the field of exchange rates - jeopardise this fairly favourable outlook, the SNB will adjust the measures to be taken.