ZURICH, May 6 (Reuters) - The Swiss government is sticking with its forecast of modest growth for 2012, its economy minister said on Sunday, adding he was hopeful the euro zone’s fiscal woes could be stabilised.
After investors anxious about the euro zone debts piled into the franc last year and threatened to push Switzerland into recession, the Swiss National Bank imposed a cap of 1.20 francs per euro on Sept. 6.
Switzerland earns every second franc abroad and the SNB still considers the franc overvalued, as it trades within sight of the 1.20 mark.
Exports and the tourism sector have particularly felt the pinch due to the unfavourable exchange rate.
“At the moment I see no reason for revising the forecasts: For 2012 we expect modest economic growth of 0.8 percent,” Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Amman told the German-language Der Sonntag.
“We are strongly dependent on (developments) abroad: Will it be possible to stabilise the euro zone’s financing system without generating inflation? I remain optimistic.”
Switzerland is embroiled in a dispute with Germany and the United States over tax evaders with secret Alpine accounts, and in 2009 flagship bank UBS had to pay a fine and reveal the names of several thousand U.S. clients.
Banking secrecy underpins Switzerland’s large offshore wealth management sector. Some have warned the erosion of privacy provisions could hit banks and result in job losses.
“I‘m optimistic our banks - if they offer high quality services - will be able to keep foreign wealth in Switzerland,” Schneider-Ammann said.
He said there were no plans to change the bank secrecy statutes for Switzerland domestically. (Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)