Despite inflation, Swiss economy well equipped to face 2023 – rts.ch

The Swiss economy will not be able to survive the weakening of the global economic situation this year. But according to Raiffeisen bank forecasts, there is no “risk of a sharp recession” because the country has plenty of assets.

Exports are being depleted by a strong franc and rising prices abroad, which have weakened the global economy. In addition, “high energy prices and the rising cost of living are also having an impact” in Switzerland, Raiffeisen said on Tuesday.

Economists at the St. Gallen bank rubbed their crystal balls and expect GDP growth of 1% for next year.

Many positive indicators

The low risk of a recession in Switzerland is mainly due to purchasing power, which has declined less than abroad thanks to the strength of the Swiss franc. This helps partially offset import costs. For 2023, Raiffeisen expects inflation to be lower than last year and consumer price growth to be 2.3%.

In addition, other elements allow the Swiss economy to be optimistic: low debt, numerous patents, not to mention the relative “peace at work” preserved in the country despite various crises.

>> Read about it: Labour.Switzerland paints a mixed picture of wage negotiations for 2023

In addition, immigration—a topic that has been strongly emphasized in recent times—supports the economic structure by reducing labor shortages. It also promotes population growth and thus allows maintaining the overall level of consumption as well as a relatively balanced demographic dependency ratio, reducing the economic pressure on working people.

>> See also: With 100,000 vacancies, Switzerland’s labor shortage is getting worse.

Concerned population

As such, consumption should remain a solid support for growth this year and help avoid any endogenous risk of a recession.

Raiffeisen forecasts GDP growth of around 1.5% for 2024. “We hope that in the fourth year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will experience a trend towards growth again”, explains Martin Neff. A prerequisite is that no new shocks, especially health or geopolitical ones, should emerge.

However, these positive elements are not enough to reassure Swiss citizens, who, according to several opinion polls, are particularly pessimistic about the coming year amid uncertainty, especially for the most dangerous households.

>> Read about it: Financially, the Swiss have never been more pessimistic in six years

Current account reward refund

Interest rate hikes are nearing a peak. Experts are convinced that the SNB should limit interest rate increases this year.

But until then, some banks have taken a pioneering position in transferring these positive rates to savings accounts, which are beginning to generate income. According to the financial services portal Moneyland.ch, the repayment of deposits remains low – an average of 0.19% for January – but it is significantly higher than the level of 0.04% measured last year.

Mainly operating small cantonal and regional institutions. According to a statement from Moneyland.ch, Cantonal Bank of Zug thus offers an interest rate of 0.65% for the first year on the savings account, followed by its counterparts in Lucerne (0.6%) and Schaffhausen (0.6%). Reference is also made to small regional enterprises such as Clientis Spar- und Leihkasse Thayngen (0.55%).

Big less generous banks

The big banking groups are still dragging their feet to follow this move. At Raiffeisen, the interest rate is set at 0.1% and at Credit Suisse it drops to 0.01%. For now, Moneyland attributes the red cap to UBS, which has an interest rate of 0%. It will decrease to 0.1% in February. Zürcher Kantonalbank (0.5%) and Postfinance (0.4%) are exceptions among these large institutions.

However, Moneyland cautions that more generous rates are often coupled with special conditions, particularly with withdrawals or maximum deposit amounts. Finally, this rise in interest rates should also translate into an inflationary outlook: adjusted for inflation, savers remain losers, Moneyland managing director Benjamin Manz points out.

Radio subject: Dominique Choffat
Web text: contact ats

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