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Switzerland plots domestic aid roll-out

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17:25 CEST+02:00

The Swiss government outlined on Wednesday how it will disburse the first tranche of a planned 2.0 billion francs in aid for the economy in order to offset the impact of a strong local currency.

"The first tranche, which will be submitted to parliament during the autumn session, will reach 870 million francs ($1.1 billion)," it said in a statement.  

"Priority will be given to preserving jobs and the long-term attractiveness of the Swiss economy," it said.  

The Swiss franc, considered a safe haven currency, has been rising throughout the year as investors flee economic turmoil abroad but its strength undercuts local exporters who have been hard hit.  

At its peak earlier in August, it was up around 20 percent against the euro and 25 percent against the dollar compared to 2009.  

The Swiss National Bank intervened three times during the month by flooding the market with liquidity to stem the currency's rise.  

Shortly after the government's announcement on Wednesday, the value of the franc rose to 1.1612 francs per euro at 13:35 GMT, up 1.96 percent on the day.  

Some 500 million francs of the first tranche, will go to the unemployment insurance fund, "to prepare for any eventual rise in unemployment" -- which stood at 2.8 percent in July.  

Another 212.5 million francs will be allocated to "knowledge and technology transfer" projects, mainly to beef up existing research institutions and funds.  

Some 100 million francs will be provided to the hotel sector, which has been particularly hit by the currency's rise.  

Details of the second tranche will be submitted to parliament in time for its winter session, and will focus on research, infrastructure and education, and will not exceed one billion francs, the government added.

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