Swiss Economy Shrinks But Still Performs Better than its European Neighbors

In the first quarter of 2008, Switzerland’s economy contracted 2.4 percent from a year earlier, the fastest pace in almost 15 years. And even though it is expected that the deterioration will continue throughout 2009, so far the Europe’s eight largest economy has performed better than its European neighbors.

Indeed, although Switzerland's leading economic indicators fell to the lowest level in more than a decade it happened at more gradual pace than elsewhere. Moreover, the impact of credit crunch is weaker in Switzerland because the country has a large current account surplus and a high savings rate. In addition, the deterioration of inflationary pressures has given recently a lot of room for monetary policy actions. In the last months, the Swiss National Bank has cut the 3-month target rate by 175bp and even tried foreign exchange intervention to cap the Swiss franc. In addition, even though the unemployment rate is rising steadily, it's still one of the lowest in Europe and below the natural rate of unemployment. Looking further, exports have deteriorated 21 percent  from its height in June 2008 but are still above their long time average.

Anna Fedec,
6/3/2009 2:26:41 PM