August 28, 2017 / 8:03 AM / a year ago

Industry group Swissmem upbeat as franc drops vs euro

ZURICH, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Swiss electrical and mechanical engineering industry group Swissmem expressed optimism on Monday about prospects for a longer-term recovery thanks to a global economic upturn and the Swiss franc’s fall against the euro.

Sales by member companies rose 3.3 percent year on year in the second quarter, bringing the rise in the first half to 6.2 percent, the second-biggest gain in a decade.

Orders fell 8.3 percent in the second quarter from a strong year-earlier period, but order inflow as of the end of June was still higher than the average of a year earlier, it said.

Swissmem, whose members include power grids maker ABB and pump maker Sulzer, said 51 percent of companies in the sector expected foreign orders to rise over the next 12 months, while 8 percent expected a decline.

It said it was encouraged by the franc’s weakening against the euro, which was providing tailwinds that could help companies improve margins if the trend continues.

“The weaker franc provides (sector) companies the chance finally to make some money after 10 difficult years and to be able to invest this in the future,” Swissmem Chairman Hans Hess said in a statement.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

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