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Swiss economy powers ahead in second quarter

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss economy expanded by a better than expected 0.5 percent in the second quarter, data showed on Tuesday, adding to signs of a strong recovery as private consumption picked up and spending on machinery grew.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast quarterly growth of 0.3 percent. At 0.6 percent, the growth rate had also in exceeded expectations in the first quarter.

"It's a very good reading - much better than expected. It seems the Swiss economy is ticking along and solid consumption is the reason," said Alessandro Bee at J. Safra Sarasin.

Year-on-year, second quarter gross domestic product rose 2.5 percent, beating forecasts for 1.7 percent in a Reuters poll, the State Secretariat for Economics said. It revised up first quarter annual growth to 1.2 percent from 1.1 percent.

Tuesday's figures add to a run of recent upbeat economic data.

In June, the Swiss National Bank, which holds a policy meeting in two weeks, reaffirmed a forecast for growth of 1 to 1.5 percent this year.

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by John Stonestreet)