IMF praise for Switzerland's pandemic policy
A four-member team of experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) scrutinised Switzerland's economic and financial sector policy in the spring as part of the IMF's annual Article IV Consultation. The team held video conferences with experts from the Federal Administration, the Swiss National Bank, FINMA, cantonal authorities and the private sector, and also held talks with Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan and FINMA CEO Mark Branson. Following discussions in Washington and approval by the IMF Executive Board, the results of the review were published on 21 June in the 2021 IMF Article IV Consultation, Country Report on Switzerland.
According to the IMF, Switzerland has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic well up to now and has been able to limit the decline in economic output. In 2020, the Swiss economy contracted by 3%, less than most other European advanced economies.
According to the IMF, the impact was cushioned by the solid public and household finances, competitive export industries, the large and well-capitalised financial sector, low dependency on contact-intensive sectors, the well-resourced healthcare system and targeted containment measures. The swift emergency measures exceeding 10% of GDP to provide targeted support for households and businesses were also crucial in curbing the economic slowdown. The IMF expects Swiss growth to reach 3.5% in 2021.
In the longer term, the IMF recommends supporting digital and sustainable growth with efficient and targeted measures, ensuring synergies with ongoing investment programmes on infrastructure, climate change and digitalisation, for instance, and highly effective expenditure.
Finally, the IMF emphasises the importance of more far-reaching reforms to secure pension benefits. In view of rising life expectancy, the retirement age should be increased, for example, and linked to life expectancy.
Further information on current IMF affairs can be found on the SIF website.