Foreign direct investment in Switzerland increased last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of investment projects rose by 25% to 91, the highest level since 2011, thus bucking the general trend of decline across Europe.This content was published on June 7, 2021 - 11:39
This put Switzerland 14th among European countries (up from 17th in 2019), according to a study published on Monday by consultants EY.
“This pleasing development is primarily due to the increased commitment by German companies to us; the number of investment projects from German companies almost doubled in 2020,” Michael Messerli, partner and head of strategy & transaction at EY in Switzerland, said in a statementExternal link.
US companies remained in second place. On the other hand, interest from British investors appears to have fallen. “And it is noticeable that once again very few investments were seen in Switzerland from our neighbouring country, Italy,” he said.
Some other medium-sized economies such as Poland, Turkey and Austria also attracted more investment projects from foreign companies last year than in 2019.
Across Europe, however, the number of investment projects by foreign investors fell by 13% in 2020, EY added. A total of 5,578 investment projects were announced by foreign investors.
With 256 investment projects, the commitment of Swiss companies to other European countries in 2020 was at the same level as in the previous year (258).
However, there were certain shifts: Germany gained in importance as an investment destination, while the number of projects in France fell significantly – so that Germany replaced France as the most popular investment destination for Swiss companies. Spain and Britain follow with about a third of the investment projects each.
Overall, against the backdrop of the significant restrictions on public and economic life by Covid-19, the consultants said they had expected an even sharper decline in investment activity.
“In the spring of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led to a kind of shock paralysis throughout Europe, to massive austerity measures, and to a temporary halt to many investment projects,” Messerli said.
“But the economy had already got going again in the second half of the year in many places, and in some cases even did so surprisingly quickly, and the investment environment improved again.”