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Swiss KOF Economic Barometer Unexpectedly Improves In February

A leading indicator of the turning points in Switzerland's economy rose for a third straight month in February, defying expectations for an easing, showed the survey data that were largely collected before the news of the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy came to light.

The KOF economic barometer climbed to 100.9 from 100.1 in January, figures from the KOF Swiss Economic Institute showed on Friday. Economists had forecast a lower score of 97.5.

The latest strengthening was primarily driven by an improvement in sentiment in the manufacturing sector, while only the indicators from the financial sector had a slightly negative impact.

"With the third increase in a row, it now lingers just above its long-term average," KOF said. "Accordingly, clearly positive growth rates would be expected for the Swiss economy in the near future."

But, the results are based on the sentiment before the outbreak of the coronavirus in northern Italy, the think tank said. The majority of the responses to the February KOF business tendency surveys, which carries the greatest weight in on the barometer, were given before the spread of coronavirus infections in northern Italy became known.

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