Swiss leading indicator falls more than expected

ZURICH Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:15am EST

ZURICH Jan 30 (Reuters) - Switzerland's economic momentum cooled more than expected in January, slipping for a fourth straight month as weakness in the neighbouring euro zone weighed on business confidence, a leading indicator showed on Wednesday.

The KOF barometer, a gauge of the Swiss economy's performance in about six months' time, fell to 1.05 points in January from a revised 1.29 points in December, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute said.

The reading missed analyst expectations, which averaged 1.16 in a Reuters poll.

"The trend in the industrial sector is no longer as unfavourable as it had been lately," the KOF said in a statement. "Nevertheless, the strain exerted on Swiss industrial enterprises by the weak European environment has not lifted."

The economy grew faster-than-expected in the third quarter of 2012, but the Swiss National Bank said in December that it expected growth to significantly weaken in the final three months of 2012 as the global economy remained fragile.

For more details from the KOF statement Reuters 3000 Xtra users can click on:

www.konjunkturportal.ch/

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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