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SMEs feel cool export climate

Swiss small and medium-businesses (SMEs) are expecting a cooling of the export climate in the fourth quarter of this year, an SME indicator has revealed.

Osec Business Network Switzerland and Credit Suisse, which produced the report, said the small and medium-sized enterprises were feeling the result of the slowdown in the global economy and the strong Swiss franc.

Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of SMEs questioned expected growth to slow due to the strong Swiss franc. This stood at 67 per cent in the third quarter and 55 per cent in the second. The metal, precision instruments and machinery industry were particularly affected.

Overall, 83 per cent of companies surveyed said that the franc was adversely affecting their profit margins – compared with, for example, 78 per cent in the third quarter. Among those hardest hit: pharmaceuticals, electrical engineering and precision instruments.

This latest SME survey was conducted shortly after the Swiss National Bank announced that it was setting a euro exchange rate target of SFr1.20.

“It remains to be seen how this measure will impact on sentiment among SMEs in the coming quarters,” the statement said.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR