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Swiss economy forecast to grow 1.5 pct in 2016- SECO

ZURICH, Sept 20 The Swiss government on Tuesday slightly upgraded its 2016 economic growth forecast as uncertainties like Britain's vote to quit the European Union did not derail Switzerland's recovery.

"As long as this situation continues, there is a good chance that the negative economic effect of a Brexit will remain largely limited to the UK itself and will have only a moderate impact on Continental Europe and other regions around the world," said the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said in a statement.

In its economic forecasts that are updated every quarter, SECO said it expected Swiss economic growth of 1.5 percent, slightly higher than the 1.4 percent rate forecast in its June assessment.

Economic growth for 2017 is expected at 1.8 percent, the same level as in June. The Swiss economy has been growing at an average rate of around 1.9 percent over the last 10 years.

Unemployment meanwhile is expected to ease to 3.3 percent in both 2016 in 2017 under a new system of calculation with an updated size of the labour force. SECO had previously said it expected average unemployment rates of 3.4 percent in both years.

Inflation was forecast at -0.4 percent for this year, before prices start to increase again in 2017 at a rate of 0.3 percent.

The forecasts follow the Swiss National Bank's assessment last week, when it said it expected a continuation of Switzerland's economic recovery during the rest of 2016, albeit at a lower level during the second half of the year.

For 2016, the SNB said it expected growth of 1.5 percent with a gradual improvement in the Swiss labour market. (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)

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