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Switzerland Economy

    Economy—overview: Switzerland, a fundamentally prosperous and stable modern economy with a per capita GDP 15%-20% above that of the big West European economies, experienced an export-driven upturn in its economy in 1998. The downturn in the global economy, however, will have a cooling effect on the 1998 boom in the Swiss export sector, including financial services, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and special-purpose machines. A major downturn in the Swiss economy should still be avoided, as consumer and capital spending have picked up and will keep the economy moving in 1999. GDP growth in 1999 is expected to come in around 1.4%. The growing political and economic union of Europe suggests that Switzerland's time-honored neutral separation is becoming increasingly obsolete. Thus, when the surrounding trade partners launched the euro on 1 January 1999, their firms began prodding Swiss exporters and importers to keep their accounts in euros.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$191.8 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$26,400 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 2.8%
    industry: 31.1%
    services: 66.1% (1995)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.9%
    highest 10%: 28.6% (1982)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0% (1998)

    Labor force: 3.8 million (850,000 foreign workers, mostly Italian)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 67%, manufacturing and construction 29%, agriculture and forestry 4% (1995)

    Unemployment rate: 3.6% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $32.66 billion
    expenditures: $34.89 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.3 billion (1998 est.)

    Industries: machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments

    Industrial production growth rate: 6% (1998 est.)

    Electricity—production: 54.815 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 3.99%
    hydro: 52.73%
    nuclear: 43.27%
    other: 0.01% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 53.765 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 24.2 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 23.15 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs

    Exports: $94.4 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: machinery 29%, chemicals 28%, metals, watches, agricultural products (1997)

    Exports—partners: EU 61% (Germany 23%, France 9%, Italy 8%, UK 6%, Austria 3%), US 10%, Japan 4% (1997)

    Imports: $95.5 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: machinery 22%, chemicals 16%, vehicles, metals, agricultural products, textiles (1997)

    Imports—partners: EU 79% (Germany 32%, France 12%, Italy 10%, Netherlands 5%, UK 5%),, US 7%, Japan 3% (1997)

    Debt—external: $NA

    Economic aid—donor: ODA, $1.1 billion (1995)

    Currency: 1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (SFR) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi

    Exchange rates: Swiss francs, franken, or franchi (SFR) per US$1—1.3837 (January 1999), 1.4498 (1998), 1.4513 (1997), 1.2360 (1996), 1.1825 (1995), 1.3677 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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