Swiss economy to continue growth in 2011

The Swiss economy is expected to continue to grow in 2011 despite the threats posed by the strong franc and the growing crisis in Japan.

This content was published on March 17, 2011 minutes and agencies

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) is predicting that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by 2.1 per cent in 2011, decreasing slightly to 1.9 per cent in 2012.

“In comparison with other European countries, the rhythm of Swiss growth was above the average [in the fourth quarter of 2010],” Seco said in its quarterly update.

In January and February of this year, “neither business enquiries nor the climate of household consumption are showing signs of weakness,” Seco said.

Despite the high value of the franc, Swiss exports – chemicals and pharmaceuticals in particular - had continued to register “solid expansions”. However Seco warned that the strong franc could lead to a loss of international competivity for industrial sectors over the course of the year.

The Swiss franc appreciated by 17 per cent against the euro during 2010 and reached parity with the dollar.

Seco said events in Japan were likely to have “little or no” negative effect on the Swiss economy, except in the case of a major nuclear catastrophe affecting the country’s major cities such as Tokyo. 

“In such a scenario, the standstill of production lines would be prolonged and the dimension of the crisis would be further aggravated,” Seco said. “The financial markets would face a new period of deep incertitude.”

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