* SECO keeps 2012 growth view at 1 pct
* Trims 2013 growth forecast to 1.3 pct from 1.4 pct
* Predicts growth of 2 pct in 2014
* Cuts inflation forecasts for 2012, 2013
* Short-term outlook mixed but no signs of crisis
(Adds details, background)
ZURICH, Dec 13 The Swiss government said it was
cautiously optimistic for the economic outlook assuming the euro
zone debt crisis does not again escalate even as it trimmed its
growth forecast for 2013 to 1.3 percent.
"Alongside the dark clouds hanging over the situation, the
first signs of light at the end of the tunnel are appearing,"
economists at the State Secretariat for Economics (SECO) said.
"These first signs allow for cautious optimism and to
anticipate a gradual improvement in Switzerland's international
economic environment over the next two years."
The SECO stuck to a forecast for 1 percent growth for 2012,
but pared its outlook for 2013 to 1.3 percent from the 1.4
percent it predicted in September.
It expects growth to accelerate to 2 percent in 2014
assuming the euro zone debt crisis remains under control and the
global economy gradually recovers.
It forecast consumer prices to fall by 0.7 percent this
year, up from a prediction of minus 0.5 percent made in
September. Prices are seen rising 0.2 percent in 2013 and 2014.
The new government forecasts come ahead of a quarterly
monetary policy meeting on Thursday of the central bank, which
is expected to reiterate its determination to keep a lid on the
safe-haven franc to avert recession and deflation.
The SECO said Swiss exporters were still struggling from the
strong franc and sluggish global demand, particularly in the
machinery, electrical and metal industries and the tourism
sector, although the cap on the franc was helping.
The Swiss National Bank is expected to predict growth of 1
percent for 2013 and confirm its growth forecast for 2012 of 1
The Swiss economy grew at a faster-than-expected 0.6 percent
in the third quarter after a 0.1 percent contraction in the
previous three months but is seen struggling again in coming
months as demand stays muted in the euro zone.
Unemployment is expected to tick up to 3.3 percent in 2013
and 2014 from 2.9 percent in 2012, the SECO said.
The SECO's predictions are based on the assumption that
Swiss interest rates will remain at rock bottom through 2013 and
that the franc will fall 3.4 percent on a trade-weighted basis
this year and a further 1.4 percent in 2013.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Patrick Graham)