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(Bloomberg) -- It turns out that a strong franc may not have that much of an impact on Switzerland’s foreign trade after all.
While the country’s exports suffered in 2015, a newly published study indicates the Swiss National Bank’s policy U-turn that caused the franc to rally as much as 41 percent might not be solely to blame. Instead, the culprit was a double whammy: the currency soared at a time when the euro-area economy was still finding its footing after the sovereign debt crisis.
An article in the Swiss State Secretariat for Economics’s publication Die Volkswirtschaft by Tobias Erhardt, Christian Rutzer and Rolf Weder of the University of Basel examined the time span from 1990 to 2015 and found the effect of the real effective exchange rate on the value of exports to be quite small. In fact, while a real 1 percent appreciation of the franc caused a decline of 0.06 percent in exports, a 1 percent drop in gross domestic product abroad caused a significantly larger decline of 0.8 percent.
The exchange rate sensitivity of exports actually lessened after the 2008 crisis, the authors found, potentially because some companies or groups of producers dropped out entirely.
“The conclusion can be drawn that the Swiss economy has become more resilient to exchange rate fluctuations,” they said.
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