SMEs pessimistic about business prospects

A shaky global outlook and the impact of the strong Swiss franc have darkened the outlook of Switzerland’s small and medium-sized firms (SMEs).

This content was published on August 30, 2011 - 17:55 and agencies

A survey published on Tuesday found 64 per cent of respondents saying they expected the economic situation to deteriorate – an increase of more than 50 per cent over July.

Three out of five firms said they felt the ill effects of the strength of the Swiss franc, but only 13 per cent considered it a threat.

The SMEs welcomed a planned economic stimulus package by the government to counter the soaring Swiss franc but most of them believed they would not benefit from the measures, according to the survey of 300 businesses.

The survey was carried out by accountancy firm Ernst & Young between Aug 18 and 24 as the franc retreated from all-time highs against the euro and dollar following actions from the Swiss National Bank taken partly in response to concerns raised by the country's exporters.

The government is due to announce details of its package on Wednesday, including increased funding for technology and innovation.

The nearly 300,000 SMEs make up the backbone of the Swiss economy.

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