ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss economy could grow more than twice as fast as usual in 2021 and 2022. GDP rose around 4% in both years as production recovered from the coronavirus epidemic, the government's chief economist told NZZ newspaper on Sunday.
In its "positive scenario", the government expects the global economy to recover from mid-2021, said Eric Scheidegger, a situation that should help the export-oriented economy in Switzerland.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said in its December forecast it expects GDP growth of 3% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022, after production fell 3.3% in 2020 worst downturn since 1975.
The economy usually grows around 1.7% per year.
"In our positive scenario, we expect a strong recovery in the global economy from the summer," Scheidegger, director of the economic policy at SECO, told the newspaper.
"In this case, Switzerland could achieve growth of around 4% in both 2021 and 2022."
The downturn in 2020, when companies saw their order books empty and much of the service sector closed for long periods of time, caused the Swiss economy an estimated loss of 72 billion francs ($ 81.32 billion), he told the newspaper.
State aid, equivalent to 5% of GDP, prevented the downturn from worsening and was far more than the support measures during the financial crisis, he said.
GDP should return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2021, he added, with corporate investment helping the recovery.
"In addition to consumption, investments are the second main driver: companies generally hold back in times of crisis. As soon as they have planning security again, however, many companies will concentrate on the upswing," Scheidegger told the newspaper.
Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world with a financial services and pharmaceuticals-led economy. Although outside the European Union, it has access to the bloc's internal market through a series of treaties.
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