Swiss exports: SMEs expect fewer exports

Reduced demand in the eurozone weakens Swiss exporters

The export mood has darkened and the export barometer is now only just above the growth threshold. Find out which sectors are particularly affected and why the topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important with regard to exports. 

No further growth in exports expected

The Credit Suisse export barometer has dropped further, falling almost to the growth threshold at 0.2 points. This means that the value is clearly below the long-term average of 1.0 points, and at its lowest level since 2012. Although experts at Credit Suisse do not anticipate a decline in exports, a further increase also looks unlikely.

The combined Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone – Switzerland’s most important trading partner – is also at its lowest level for over six years, and demand is expected to drop even further. Global uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the ongoing trade dispute between China and the US are giving the machinery, electronics, and metals industry particular cause for concern. Their exports have declined in virtually all key markets. Only exports from these sectors to the US saw slight growth at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Swiss exports: The Credit Suisse export barometer is dropping once again

The Credit Suisse export barometer is dropping once again

In standard deviations, growth threshold = 0
Source: Bloomberg, Datastream, PMIPremium, Credit Suisse/IDC

Swiss SMEs are less optimistic

According to Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), the export mood among SMEs has worsened slightly as the year-end approaches, though it is still above the growth threshold of 50 points. The value was 62 points at the start of Q4 2019, seven points down on the same quarter last year.

According to the S-GE poll, 47% of Swiss SMEs expect to see increasing exports in the next quarter. A further 30% expect to see stagnation and 23% anticipate a decline in exports. Germany is by far the most important export market, with 75% of SMEs intending to export to the country in the next six months.

Export mood of SMEs remains above growth threshold

Export mood of SMEs remains above growth threshold

Weighted value from third and fourth quarters of 2019, growth threshold = 0
Source: Survey of a panel of around 200 Swiss SMEs by Switzerland Global Enterprise

Sustainability is a key success factor for SMEs

The topic of sustainability is growing in importance globally – and is playing an increasingly bigger role for Swiss SMEs too. Of the SMEs surveyed, 52% indicated that a sustainable value chain was a key success factor in their export business. Their focus is on economic sustainability in particular, followed by ecological and social considerations.

Around half of Swiss SMEs said they were willing to pay increased attention to sustainability issues as part of their internationalization strategies. However, 42% of SMEs find it difficult to integrate sustainable aspects. By contrast, 34% do not consider the integration of these aspects to be a problem.