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Balancing the books Government boasts (another) surplus year


Last year the budget surplus was CHF 2.9 billion.

(Keystone / Anthony Anex)

The government announced on Wednesday that it will end the year with a budget surplus more than double of what was forecasted.

Estimates throughout 2019 predicted a better than expected outcome for the end-of-year results. The final tally of CHF3.1 billion ($3.1 billion) far exceeds what was budgeted, which was CHF1.2 billion.

The improvement was due in equal measure to higher receiptsexternal link and lower expenditures. Receipts were up 0.9 billion, or 1.2% – largely from withholding tax and direct federal tax. However, Value Added Tax revenues remained below expectations, which the government attributes to the fact that nominal economic growth in 2019 lagged well behind the budget forecast.

The government tends to err on the conservative side when it comes to budget forecasts. Since 2007, only the 2014 financial year ended with a slightly lower result than budgeted. Last year, the budget surplus was CHF 2.9 billion instead of the CHF300 million budgeted. In 2017, the planned shortfall of CHF250 million turned into a surplus of CHF2.8 billion.

Budget graph

Budget graphic


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