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Country Report Switzerland September 2017

Country Report Switzerland September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557374
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

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Outlook for 2017-21



  • Although the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) won a clear victory at the 2015 election, The Economist Intelligence Unit believes that the party will not compromise the country's political stability over the forecast period (2017-21).
  • Nonetheless, the SVP remains capable of stirring up Swiss politics. This was highlighted by the debate about limiting EU immigration. In December 2015 the SVP won a second post in the four-party government.
  • The grand coalition government faces challenges in managing Swiss-EU relations amid anti-immigration sentiment. Policy will also focus on adapting to new global banking and tax norms, as well as phasing out nuclear power.
  • The Swiss National Bank (SNB, the central bank) will continue to intervene in currency markets until mid-2018 and keep the three-month Swiss franc Libor, its policy rate, firmly in negative territory, at least until 2021.
  • The three-month Swiss franc Libor is likely to remain at -0.75% until then, and will only rise slowly once the SNB begins to normalise policy, to 0% by the end of our forecast period. External risks are likely to persist, however.
  • Real GDP growth averaged 1.4% in 2016. Economic activity has slowed in the first half of 2017, and we now forecast growth of 0.6% this year. We forecast growth of 1.4% in 2018, rising gradually to an average of 1.7% in 2019-21.


Review



  • An opinion poll conducted by GFS Bern, a polling company, estimated that 53% of Swiss voters support the two referendum proposals that would allow for the passage of the Retirement 2020 pension reform, a vote on which will be held on September 24th.
  • The Free Democratic Party (FDP) has selected three candidates to take the place of Didier Burkhalter, the minister of foreign affairs, when he resigns at the end of October. Parliament will elect his successor on September 20th.
  • Ignazio Cassis, a member of parliament from the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, is widely seen as the favourite to replace Mr Burkhalter.
  • On September 6th the government initiated a consultation on its proposed replacement for the Corporate Tax Reform III, the Tax Proposal 17 (TP17).
  • Real GDP growth accelerated modestly, to 0.3% quarter on quarter, during April-June on a seasonally and working-day adjusted basis, following downwardly revised growth of 0.1% in the first quarter.
  • Private consumption expanded by 0.2% quarter on quarter, while government consumption rose by 0.3% and fixed investment by 0.5%. Exports rose by 4.1%, while imports contracted by 2% on the same basis.


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