Swiss leading indicator slips less than expected in February

Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:58am EST

* KOF slips to 1.03 in Feb vs revised 1.12 in Jan

* KOF eyed for trough in coming months

* February PMI data due on Friday

ZURICH, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Switzerland's economic momentum slipped again in February, though a smaller-than-expected drop led economists to believe it will turn a corner next month.

The KOF barometer of economic sentiment, which predicts performance in roughly six months, slipped to 1.03 points in February from a revised 1.12 points in January, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute said on Wednesday.

Analysts had forecast an average of 1.00 points.

Though several economists, including at the country's biggest banks UBS and Credit Suisse, said the February reading was better than expected in part because January's indicator was revised sharply higher, optimism still prevailed.

"It appears we are seeing the KOF bottoming out, especially in light of the strengthening in PMI," Bank Sarasin Jan Poser said.

"Maybe next month already we'll see that the KOF has actually bottomed (out), reflecting a recovery in the Swiss economy."

Economists polled by Reuters expect February's survey of purchasing managers (PMI) to fall to 52.2 points from 52.5 in January on Friday.

"Momentum is improving, we've seen this with the January PMI which is above the 50 threshold, so in growth territory again,' Credit Suisse's Maxime Botteron said.

"Demand for Swiss products is growing, the trend for economic growth is improving in comparison to the last quarter." (Reporting by Katharina Bart and Martin de Sa'Pinto; editing by Patrick Graham)

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