ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss economy should continue to grow at a reasonable pace, a forward-looking indicator showed on Friday, fuelled by healthy consumer appetite in Switzerland.
The KOF economic barometer, which points to the performance of the Swiss economy in about six months' time, edged higher to 1.98 points in January from 1.95 in December, its highest level in two and a half years, the Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) said.
However, the indicator missed views from economists, which called for a reading of 2.00 points, and suggests a slower pace of pick-up than was expected.
"The credit business has stabilised while the construction sector has slowed down slightly," KOF economists said.
The KOF reading adds to a series of generally upbeat economic data, such as Swiss consumer prices, which rose on the year for the second month running in December, underscoring the success of the Swiss National Bank's policy of capping the franc to ward off deflation.
Swiss exports fell 3 percent in November compared to the prior-year month, due to one less working day. When adjusted for this, exports would have risen 1 percent, the Federal Customs Office said.
Government economists raised growth forecasts for 2013 slightly in December, expecting a further acceleration in the next two years, to 2.7 percent in 2015.
(Reporting by Katharina Bart and Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Toby Chopra)