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Swiss keep Fitch triple-A rating

Fitch Ratings on Thursday held steady Switzerland's top AAA rating, citing its resilient economy and well-managed public finances, and kept the outlook at stable.

“Fitch Ratings has affirmed Switzerland’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at ‘AAA’,” said the agency in a statement.

Fitch also held the country’s short-term rating at ‘F1+’.

The decision reflects the country’s “advanced, diversified and wealthy economy,” and a record of low and stable inflation, said Fitch.

Inflation was at minus one percent in May.

“The economy has sustained resilient growth despite the global financial crisis, rebounding quickly from a contraction in 2009,” it said, while citing also well managed public finances and strong institutions.

Swiss government debt dropped last year to 36.5 percent of GDP compared to 54.9 in 2003, increasing the room for fiscal manoeuvre in the event of a severe economic downturn, the agency said.

It warned that “significant reforms” needed to be made to curb the effects of an ageing population on Switzerland’s public finances however.

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ECONOMY

Why Switzerland continues to attract foreign companies despite the coronavirus pandemic

Despite the pandemic, 220 foreign businesses set up their offices in Switzerland in 2020.

Why Switzerland continues to attract foreign companies despite the coronavirus pandemic
Switzerland is a magnet for foreign companies. Photo by Valeriano de Domenico/AFP

While this number is 9 percent lower than in the previous year, these companies have created 11 percent more new jobs — a total of 1,168 — than in 2019. Most of the new jobs were created by companies from China, the United States and Germany.

About 3,600 more positions are expected to be offered by these enterprises in the next three years, according to data from SRF, Switzerland’s public broadcaster.

In fact, Switzerland is one of the very few countries that have been able to attract international companies to its shores in 2020, a notoriously bad year for the global economy.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s economy is on the up despite the coronavirus pandemic

Experts believe this is due to the country’s strengths, including political, economic and financial conditions.

“Even in a time of crisis, Switzerland scored thanks to its stability, predictability and security”, said Patrik Wermelinger, member of the executive board of Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE), which promotes the country abroad on behalf of the federal government and the cantons.

There are also other reasons that had prompted foreign companies to come to Switzerland in 2020, despite the economic uncertainty and travel restrictions.

“Protection of legal rights, freedom, and personal responsibility are stronger in Switzerland than in many other countries, even in times of pandemic”, said SGE’s co-president Walter Schönholzer.

Switzerland’s attractiveness is also boosted by studies showing the country’s economy remains the strongest in the world.

Even though the health crisis plunged Switzerland’s economic activity into a “historic” 8.2-percent slump in the second quarter of  2020, the country still boasts the world’s most resilient economy, according to research by an insurance and reinsurance company Swiss Re. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a 3.5-percent rebound in Switzerland’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.

It said Switzerland’s economy absorbed the shock of the pandemic better than other European countries and it “has navigated the Covid-19 pandemic well”.

IMF added that Switzerland’s “early, strong, and sustained public health and economic policy response has helped contain the contraction of activity relative to other European countries”.

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