Friday, Swiss think tank KOF said its economic barometer fell to minus 1.79 in March from February's revised minus 1.37, implying that economic activity in the country will continue to decline. Economists had expected a reading of minus 1.55 for March.

The KOF said the current level of the indicator is the lowest level since the beginning of the series in 1991.

A day earlier, the KOF had forecast that the Swiss economy is set to shrink 2.4% in 2009. In December last year, the think tank had projected a contraction of 0.5% for this year. The KOF sees a 0.3% decline in the gross domestic product for next year, which was previously expected to grow 0.6%.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, the Swiss economy had slipped into recession as global financial crisis took its toll on the country's exports and businesses. GDP fell 0.3% in the final three months of 2008, after declining 0.1% in the third quarter.

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