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Country Report Switzerland October 2017

Country Report Switzerland October 2017

  • October 2017
  • ID: 325809
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2018-22

  • 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 (2018-22).
  • 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 government faces challenges in managing Swiss-EU relations amid anti-immigration sentiment and in reaching a consensus on social welfare reform. Policy will also focus on adapting to new global banking and tax norms.
  • The Swiss National Bank (SNB, the central bank) will continue to intervene in currency markets to deter Swiss franc appreciation. We expect its main policy interest rate, the three-month Libor, to remain negative at least until 2021.
  • Real GDP growth averaged 1.4% in 2016. Activity slowed in the first half of 2017 and we expect full-year growth of 0.6%, although under-lying trends are slightly stronger. We forecast growth of 1.4% in 2018 and an average of 1.6% in 2019-22.
  • After a period of deflation, consumer prices have risen moderately since the start of 2017. We expect inflationary pressures to remain subdued and forecast headline inflation of 0.5% in 2017, followed by an average of 1.2% in 2018-22.


  • On September 24th the Swiss public voted against Retirement 2020, a major pension reform aimed at improving the sustainability of the social security system, on two separate referendum questions.
  • Ignazio Cassis of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a member of the Italian-speaking minority, was elected to the Federal Council. He will succeed Didier Burkhalter as the minister of foreign affairs from November 1st.
  • Business operating conditions improved modestly in September, according to a range of sentiment indicators. The Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) economic barometer edged up t0 105.8, from 104.2 in August. This was a higher reading than in 2014-16, but below its average level in the first four months of 2017.
  • The SNB kept its expansionary monetary policy in September. It noted that recent currency movements had helped reduce the franc's "significant over-valuation" but that "the situation on the foreign exchange market is still fragile".
  • In September the Swiss franc weakened against the euro for a third successive month, falling to its lowest level since the SNB abandoned its currency ceiling in early 2015. The annual rate of consumer price inflation (national measure) rose to 0.7% in September, equalling its highest level since March 2011.

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