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SME Export Indicator Q4 2014: USA remains the growth engine
The Credit Suisse Export Barometer, which tracks foreign demand for Swiss products, currently stands at a level of 0.94, marking the first time since more than a year that the indicator has slipped back below the historical average of 1.00. However, export expectations for the fourth quarter 2014 remain guardedly upbeat because the indicator reading is still hovering well above the expansion threshold of 0.
Lukas Gehrig from Credit Suisse Economic Research explains that “demand from the Eurozone, particularly from Germany and France, is likely to remain muted in the months ahead. This dims the export outlook for Swiss SMEs because those two countries account for a good third of total Swiss export revenues.”
Nevertheless, the S-GE export sentiment survey of a panel of around 200 Swiss small and midsize enterprises has yielded an SME export outlook index reading of 60.8 points, which is still well above the 50-point threshold that denotes expansion. The survey results thus continue to point to rising exports.
Alberto Silini, the Head of Consulting at S-GE, opines: “Europe will remain very important for Switzerland’s export sector, but Swiss exporters would be well advised to diversify their exports wherever possible. Looking westward could pay off in the future for Swiss SMEs. In a tough overall environment for exporters, the USA is providing powerful growth stimulus.”
For instance, 41% of the SMEs surveyed by S-GE plan to export to the USA during the fourth quarter of 2014, up from 38% in the prior quarter (multiple answers possible). The percentage of Swiss SMEs that intend to export to Europe remains stable at 92%. Fifty-four percent of Swiss SMEs intend to export to the Asia-Pacific region over the next six months, 48% to North America, 28% to the Middle East/Africa region and 20% to South America.
Further information on the SME Export Indicator for the fourth quarter of 2014 is available via the following link: www.s-ge.com/exportindikator. The SME Export Indicator for the first quarter of 2015 will be published on January 15, 2015.
Methodology of the Credit Suisse Export Barometer
The Credit Suisse Export Barometer takes as its basis the dependence of Swiss exports on foreign export markets. In constructing the export barometer, we have drawn together important leading industry indicators in Switzerland's 28 most important export countries. These indicators generally have a forecast horizon of approximately one to two quarters. The values of these leading indicators are weighted on the basis of the share of exports that goes to each country. The export barometer consolidates this information to produce a single indicator. Since the values in question are standardized, the export barometer is calibrated in standard deviations. The zero line corresponds to the growth threshold. The long-term average growth of Swiss exports of approximately 5% is 1.
For more detailed information: Credit Suisse (2009), External Trade Switzerland – Facts and Trends, Swiss Issues: Industries, available at www.credit-suisse.com/research.
Methodology of the SME Export Outlook Indicator of Switzerland Global Enterprise
The SME export outlook indicator is based on the quarterly survey of a fixed panel of more than 200 Swiss SMEs representing the pharmaceuticals/chemicals industry, machinery, consumer goods, the metals industry, paper, electrical engineering, the precision instruments industry, as well as services. SMEs indicate whether they expect growth, stagnation or a decline in exports for the current quarter as well as the coming one. To emphasize the forecast nature of the SME export indicator, expected export activity in the following quarter is weighted at 60% with exports in the current quarter being weighted at 40%. The SME export indicator can range from 0 to 100, whereby figures between 0 and 50 signal an expected decline in exports and figures of 50 to 100 an expected rise in exports. Participants provide further information on export volumes, for instance the reasons for a change in their export volume, export markets, etc. This information gives an accurate picture of the export activities of Swiss SMEs.