Expectations weakened slightly overall compared with the fourth quarter of 2018. However, both S-GE and Credit Suisse see the survey results and indices not as indicating a break in the trend, but as a return to normality. There were already signs of this gradual slowdown in Q4 2018. The fastest-growing export markets are all without exception in Asia.
Sascha Jucker, economist at Credit Suisse, comments: "The return to average long-term growth rates and so to normal service means that foreign demand for Swiss products remains solid. We have been observing a slight downturn in business sentiment in Europe for some time. This trend has now also spread to the US to some extent and led to a modest decline in the Export Barometer. Nonetheless, the outlook for the Swiss export sector is still good."
Alberto Silini, Head of Consultancy at Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), adds: "Even if SME export sentiment was down slightly on Q4, Swiss exporters are starting the new year in an optimistic frame of mind. Rightly so, as there is potential for growth both in emerging markets and the industrialized countries. However, as economic growth is likely to slow to more normal rates, it will be even more important for SMEs to stay ahead of their competitors with a sophisticated export strategy."
Further information on the SME export outlook for the first quarter of 2019 can be found in the brochure.
Video statements (in German) on current export sentiment by Sascha Jucker, Credit Suisse economist, and Alberto Silini, Head of Consultancy at Switzerland Global Enterprise.
The SME Export Outlook for the second quarter of 2019 will be published on April 11, 2019.