17% of Swiss firms surveyed expect to step up purchasing

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Pre-Y2K procurement could boost Swiss economy-study

11:05 a.m. Oct 04, 1999 Eastern

ZURICH, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Concerns over possible millennium computer glitches are triggering higher procurement by Swiss firms, which could give the economy a boost in the second half of the year, a study showed on Monday. A survey by Credit Suisse and the Swiss Purchasing Managers Association in September showed 17.1 percent of respondents expected to step up purchasing over the next two months in case the ``millennium bug'' disrupts supplies over the new year.

That compared to 12.1 percent in a poll conducted by the two groups a month earlier.

Some 9.5 percent of those surveyed in September also expected purchase prices to rise in the next two months.

But 82.1 percent of companies surveyed said they did not expect to see a change in purchasing volume and 90.5 percent did not foresee ``Y2K'' worries impacting on procurement prices.

``The findings seem to support the thesis that the economic course may diverge slightly at the year's end due to Y2K and normalise again after the turn of the year,'' the study said.

``Y2K will thus, in all probability, have a positive influence on gross domestic product data in the third and fourth quarters of 1999,'' it said.

The Y2K bug could cause older computers, which may read only the last two digits of a year, to mistake 2000 for 1900, leading to errors or malfunctions over the turn of the year.

((Zurich newsroom +41 1 631 7340, fax +41 1 202 5538, zurich.newsroom+reuters.com))

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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