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Swiss SMEs still in export mode

SME Export Outlook Q4 2018

Export sentiment among Swiss SMEs remains good. According to the latest survey of export sentiment by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), more than 60% of all SMEs expect exports to rise in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Credit Suisse Export Barometer gives a similarly positive reading. Although the values have edged down further compared to the previous quarter, they are still at 1.4 points, well above the growth threshold. For 2019, Credit Suisse expects a normalization process, in a positive sense.

SME Export Outlook

The current year is posting record-high growth in exports. This level will be difficult to maintain, according to the S-GE Survey and export barometer. Nonetheless, the export outlook for Swiss SMEs is still bright. Germany remains by far the most important export market, in every respect. Online sales currently play a minor role in exports for Swiss SMEs, many of which are highly specialized.

Sascha Jucker, Credit Suisse economist explains: “Although economic conditions for Swiss exporters have eroded slightly compared to recent months, we expect demand for Swiss export goods to continue rising in the near future. This is because the most important purchasing managers' indices suggest that industrial production in Europe will rise, which would stimulate demand for Swiss exports.”

Alberto Silini, Head of Consulting at Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), adds: “A large percentage of Swiss SMEs are often active in niche markets with a high level of consulting expertise, so online sales do not yet play a key role for them. The picture is different in services companies, ICT and the food sector, where firms are ideally positioned for digital channels. However, we note that online sales are gaining significance across the spectrum of export markets.”

 Video statements (in German) on current export sentiment by Sascha Jucker, Credit Suisse economist, and Alberto Silini, Head of Consulting at Switzerland Global Enterprise.

The SME Export Outlook for the fourth quarter of 2018 will be published on January 24, 2019.

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