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Strong franc threatens 10,000 jobs, lobby warns

Further appreciation of the franc could force the loss of 10,000 Swiss jobs over the coming year, the head of a key manufacturing lobby group has warned.

Hans Hess, president of Swissmem – an umbrella group for electrical and mechanical engineering companies – told the SonntagsBlick newspaper: “A reduction of two to three per cent employment is unfortunately realistic.

“What that means for our industry in 2012 is a loss of 10,000 jobs. 97 per cent, or 320,000 positions would be retained,” Hess told the newspaper.

Last month, the Swiss National Bank moved to halt the appreciation of the franc by setting a minimum exchange rate target of SFr1.20 to the euro.

Hess said he did not fear Swiss de-industrialisation as long as the value of the franc did not rise above target rate set by the SNB.

However Hess said at least half of Switzerland’s manufacturers would be forced to find savings over the coming year to boost their competitiveness in export markets.

Hess called for a further devaluation of the franc to SFr1.35 to the euro.  

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR