Geneva, January 15:

Swiss companies are optimistic about prospects in 2007 after an ‘excellent’ 2006 when nearly every sector of the economy grew strongly, a survey by Swiss bank UBS showed today.

The financial sector, electrical engineering, chemicals and watchmaking expected the strongest momentum, but optimism prevails across all sectors of the economy buoyed by last year’s growth, UBS said.

“Last year was one of the best in two decades on all counts: sales and earnings growth, selling prices, personnel and investment,” the bank said in a summary of its survey of over 4,200 Swiss companies.

In 2006, earnings grew in all sectors except telecommunications, which was hit by stalling sales and a surge in new technologies. Pressure on selling prices also eased as steady demand was able to offset strong competition, allowing companies to pass on some of the increased costs for energy, commodities and personnel.

The bank warned that the picture would not be so rosy in 2007. “The difficult global economic environment looming ahead is putting a damper on corporate expectations in nearly every sector,” UBS said.

However, “the vast majority of firms think the trend will remain positive in 2007, the assumption of a continued, albeit more modest improvement should be interpreted as a sign of optimism,” the bank found.