IMF forecasts 1.1-pct growth for Swiss economy in 2019

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GENEVA, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Switzerland should expect to post muted economic growth in 2019 due to factors such as subdued domestic demand, a sustained regional slowdown, global trade tensions and Britain's exit from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Monday.

The Swiss economy is likely to slow down this year, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth expected to hit 1.1 percent, followed by a "moderate" recovery in 2020, said the IMF.

In a concluding statement following a mission to Switzerland and an annual evaluation, the IMF said that "a more sustained regional slowdown, intensification of global trade tensions and a disruptive Brexit would adversely affect the highly open Swiss economy."

It said a persistent low growth-low inflation environment would sustain search for yield pressures and drive risks in the real estate market, especially for residential investment property.

Inflation is expected to remain just below 1 percent this year, said the IMF.

"The renewed prospect of global 'low-for-long' interest rates and the possibility of a resurgence in international economic and political risk could trigger safe haven pressures on the Swiss franc and push inflation into negative territory," said the report.

The IMF also noted that uncertainties over corporate taxation and old-age pensions could increase volatility for business operations.

"Population aging and technological change will likely increase demands on public resources," the IMF said.

The IMF's growth figure is slightly lower than the latest Swiss National Bank (SNB) forecast from a few days ago (1.5 percent), Swissinfo, the website of the national broadcaster, reported.

It also noted that Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) predicted 1.1 percent growth for 2019.

In 2018, Swiss GDP growth stood at 2.5 percent.

The IMF delegation conducted the review of Switzerland from March 21 to April 1. Enditem

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