Economy is looking up.


The economic barometer appears to be rising on strengthening demand in Germany, the country's largest export market.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Swiss Economics Minister Joseph Deiss raised his economic growth forecast for 2006 to 2 per cent, from 1.8 per cent.

"I've become more optimistic," said Deiss in an interview.

Growth is gathering pace across Europe, helped by a pick-up in domestic demand in Germany. Business confidence in the region's largest economy rose to a five-year high this month and consumer optimism is at its highest in eight months.

Switzerland's export-led expansion is fuelling hiring and household spending. Sales are on the upswing in luxury goods and retail.

In last month's Swiss News, UBS economist Daniel...

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