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Small & medium-sized enterprises

Swiss businesses foresee abundant exports

After a good start to 2016, Swiss exporters operating in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said in a survey that they are confident about their business prospects through the year’s end, with optimism the highest it’s been since the beginning of 2015.

According to Credit Suisse and Switzerland Global Enterprise (formerly OSEC, the Swiss Office for Trade Promotion), the main export markets for Swiss businesses continue to show signs of good growth.

The number two Swiss bank announced a value of 1.04 for its export barometer at the end of September – just under the previous quarter’s value of 1.13. The figure, which illustrates the demand for Swiss products in principal target markets abroad, is currently situated just above the average long-term growth value, which is 1. The growth threshold is fixed at 0.

An "export sentiment indicator" for Switzerland Global Enterprise SMEs – which is calculated based on the expected late 2016 export climate and on sales made during the three previous months – was estimated at 63.7 points on a scale of 100, up from 61.3 in the preceding quarter.

Sights set on Iran and US

Of the SMEs surveyed, 42% expect growth in exports in the next quarter, compared to 40% at the beginning of the last quarter. Swiss businesses expect particularly good activity in the euro zone in the next few months, as well as in the US and UK.  

About 90% of businesses surveyed plan to export to Europe, with Germany remaining the number one target market.

Just over half of SMEs said they plan to export to the Asia-Pacific region, and 30% to the Middle East and Africa. Iran’s export potential was considered to be particularly promising, with 15% of SMEs mentioning that market as one where they would most like to launch new activities.

Half of the SMEs surveyed said they plan to export to North America, and 21% to South America. The United States remained a favourite target market, with 55% of firms saying they planned to send exports there. More than a third of SMEs said they consider the US to be among their top three markets, and 43% said they anticipate shipments to the US increasing over the next five years – particularly in the areas of machinery, metallurgy, electrical engineering, and consumer goods.

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