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SME Export Outlook Q1 2016: The top export markets for 2016

Asian emerging economies, the USA and the UK present the best sales opportunities for Swiss exporters in 2016, according to projections by Credit Suisse. The USA has seen its importance as an export destination for Swiss SMEs increase the most. The export sentiment survey conducted by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) has revealed that China stands in the foreground as a new market to be tapped. On the whole, Swiss exporting SMEs are heading into the new year with cautious optimism. The foreign demand situation is starting out the year in robust shape, according to Credit Suisse. The slightly weaker Swiss franc than before and its expected tendency to depreciate in the months ahead should help Swiss SMEs to benefit more from the demand momentum than they were able to last year.

Credit Suisse senior economist Bettina Rutschi says: “The export prospects for Swiss enterprises for 2016 look the best in Asian emerging economies, above all in China. Over the next twelve months, we expect that China’s economy will expand by 7% and that the Swiss franc will depreciate by 6% against the Chinese yuan. This should keep demand for Swiss products running high. In Europe, the prospects for exports to the UK are standing in the foreground. We expect the UK economy to expand at a growth rate of +2.5%, and we foresee the Swiss franc depreciating by 13% against the British pound. The USA is likely to remain another engine of demand for Swiss products because the US economy is still on an expansion path and the Swiss franc looks set to depreciate by around 11% against the US dollar over the course of 2016.”

Alberto Silini, the head of consultancy at Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), says: “Swiss exporting SMEs are not out of the woods yet, but an increasing number of them are seeking out new lucrative export markets, as our special survey has shown. Many SMEs want to place greater export emphasis on the USA, motivated by the country’s positive economic growth and its certain degree of cultural affinity with Switzerland. However, breaking into the US market is a formidable undertaking because high entry barriers have to be overcome. China, on the other hand, is the new market that most Swiss SMEs want to address. Even niche markets in China are enormous, though they are developing very disparately. However, the regulatory environment in China is becoming increasingly complex. A well-balanced strategy and a lot of management capacity are needed. In spite of the strong Swiss franc, an export commitment to Europe can still pay off as well.”

Further information on the SME export outlook for the first quarter of 2016 can be downloaded at www.s-ge.com/exportperspektiven.

The SME Export Outlook for the second quarter of 2016 will be published on April 14, 2016.