Nine stats to help explain the famously strong Swiss economy

Nine stats to help explain the famously strong Swiss economy
Switzerland exports more coffee than chocolate.Photo: Patronestaff/
Switzerland's strong economy is almost mythical and is regularly used as an example (not a good one given the differences) of how Britain can thrive outside the EU. But what is it that gives the Swiss economy its sturdiness? Here are some helpful stats.

First of all, this is what the Swiss government says about its strong economy:

“The strength of the Swiss economy is largely due to its international outreach and strong intertwining with the economies of other countries. Switzerland has one of the highest export rates as a percentage of gross domestic product. Highly specialised and flexible small and medium-sized companies characterise the technologically advanced industrial sector.

“With a per capita gross national product ranking the second-highest worldwide, Switzerland is a prominent player in the world economy.

“Purchase power stability achieved through traditionally low inflation, low long-term capital costs, a good investment climate, sound public finances and almost no labour strikes guarantee the prosperity and stability of the Swiss economy,” according to a statement on the Swiss government official website.

Here are nine facts about the Swiss economy and how it continues to flourish:

1.     Switzerland has the second-highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the world. At the end of 2015 Swiss GDP per capita stood at CHF 77,943 (approx. EUR 73,000 or USD 81,000). This is largely due to Switzerland's manufacturing sector. 

Photo: alexeynovikov/

2.     The European Union (EU) is Switzerland's main trading partner. Around 78% of Swiss imports are from the EU, while 43% of Swiss exports are destined for EU countries.

3.     Switzerland is the world’s leading watch exporter. In 2016, Switzerland exported watch and clock products to the value of CHF 19.4 billion worldwide

Photo: ensuper/

4.     Switzerland exports more coffee than chocolate. In 2016, Switzerland exported some CHF 2 billion worth of coffee. This translates to a share 2.5 times that of chocolate and 3 times that of cheese

READ MORE: Switzerland Fourth most competitive nation in the world

5.     Almost all Swiss firms (over 99%) are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These are companies with fewer than 250 employees.

Photo: rawpixel/

6.    Public debt in Switzerland continues to fall. The public debt-to-GDP ratio in Switzerland has fallen considerably in recent years, from 54.6% in 1998 to 34.7% in 2014.

7.     Switzerland has the lowest rate of value-added tax in Europe. 8% is levied on most goods and services, 3.8% on accommodation services, and 2.5% on basic necessities and other everyday items.

Photo: ginasanders/

8.     Switzerland invests over CHF 16 billion in research and development annually. This rate of investment is equivalent to around 3% of its gross domestic product. This makes Switzerland the sixth-highest spender on research and development in the world.

Source: Swiss Federal Statistics Office, Federal Customs Administration

9. What Switzerland exports?

In terms of exports the largest share of exported goods are chemical and pharmaceutical products (44.8 percent), machinery and electronics (14.8 percent) and watches (9.2 percent).





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