Switzerland: Economy#

Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies. The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of all Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled export demand and put Switzerland in a recession. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) during this period effectively implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy as well as prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010. The sovereign debt crises currently unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries pose a significant risk to Switzerland's financial stability and are driving up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safe-haven currency. The independent SNB has upheld its zero-interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year during 2011-13. Switzerland has also come under increasing pressure from individual neighboring countries, the EU, the US, and international institutions to reform its banking secrecy laws. Consequently, the government agreed to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The government has renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate the OECD standard, and is considering the possibility of imposing taxes on bank deposits held by foreigners. These steps will have a lasting impact on Switzerland's long history of bank secrecy.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$371.2 billion (2013 est.)
$363.9 billion (2012 est.)
$360.1 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate2% (2013 est.)
1% (2012 est.)
1.8% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$54,800 (2013 est.)
$53,300 (2012 est.)
$50,900 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 0.7%
industry: 26.8%
services: 72.5% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line7.6% (2011)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 7.5%
highest 10%: 19% (2007)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 3.4%
industry: 23.4%
services: 73.2% (2010)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Exports - partnersGermany 18.5%, United States 11.61%, Italy 7.61%, France 6.96%, United Kingdom 5.67% (2013 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs
Budgetrevenues: $217.8 billion
expenditures: $208.5 billion
note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets (2013 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partnersGermany 28.19%, Italy 10.46%, France 8.49%, United States 6.08%, China 5.75%, Austria 4.4% (2013 est.)
Exchange ratesSwiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9542 (2013 est.)
0.9374 (2012 est.)
1.0429 (2010 est.)
1.0881 (2009)
1.0774 (2008)
Exports$229.2 billion (2013 est.)
$226 billion (2012 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
Debt - external$1.544 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.424 trillion (31 December 2011)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Imports$200.5 billion (2013 est.)
$197.9 billion (2012 est.)
Industrial production growth rate2.2% (2013 est.)
Industriesmachinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.4% (2013 est.)
-0.7% (2012 est.)
Labor force4.976 million (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate3.2% (2013 est.)
2.9% (2012 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index28.7 (2012 est.)
33.1 (1992)
Public debt33.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
34.9% of GDP (2012)
note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of SDRs, currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options
Current account balance$65.6 billion (2013 est.)
$63.82 billion (2012 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$536.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$536.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$646.2 billion (2013 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$968.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$955.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.432 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.381 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.079 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$932.2 billion (31 December 2011)
$1.229 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
0.75% (31 December 2009 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate2.7% (31 December 2013 est.)
2.69% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.395 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.247 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money$525.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$534.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money$1.36 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.215 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues33.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)1.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 57.4%
government consumption: 11.5%
investment in fixed capital: 20.3%
investment in inventories: 0.7%
exports of goods and services: 50.4%
imports of goods and services: -40.2%
(2013 est.)
Gross national saving31.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
31.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
27.3% of GDP (2011 est.)