Strong Franc Will Hurt Swiss Companies in 2016, Maurer Says

The strong franc will continue to weigh on Swiss companies, according to Finance Minister Ueli Maurer.

“We’ll continue to have massive problems this year with exports -- this will particularly hit small- and medium-sized businesses, suppliers and tourism, which isn’t out of the woods yet,” Maurer said in an interview in Davos, where he is participating in the World Economic Forum.

The franc has appreciated about 9 percent against the euro since January 2015, when the Swiss National Bank abolished its minimum exchange rate on its currency. As a result, exports have weakened, and the manufacturing, tourism and retail sectors experienced a drop in demand.

Even so, “Switzerland’s economy is well placed -- the strong franc, the weak euro was countered with a lot of innovation in most of sectors,” Maurer said. “Compared to other countries, we aren’t in such bad shape. We have to do our homework.”

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