Swiss economy could lose up to CHF35 billion to pandemic

The negative impact of Covid-19 on Swiss foreign trade is not easy to predict. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Coronavirus will cost the Swiss economy CHF22 billion ($22.7 billion) in lost productivity in the best-case scenario, economists have warned. Losses could easily mount up to CHF35 billion between March and June.

This content was published on April 7, 2020 - 16:30

A nationwide lockdown of non-essential high street shops and services has been accompanied by partial closures of industrial plants in some cantons. The KOF Swiss Economic InstituteExternal link calculates a productivity shortfall of CHF1.2 billion per week.

The retail, transport and hospitality sectors in particular are suffering from the consequences of the pandemic.

Much of the cost is being caused by the closure of companies and the effects of workers getting ill or being in quarantine, says KOF. But 44%-71% of the negative economic consequences of Covid-19 are likely to be caused by disruptions in trade with other countries.

“Even if the current strategy is successfully implemented, the economic costs for Switzerland will be largely determined by the international environment,” said Jan-Egbert Sturm, director of KOF. “Unless the crisis is contained globally, the economic problems in Switzerland will remain severe.”

The Swiss lockdown which began on March 17 will continue until at least April 19. But on Tuesday top Swiss health official Daniel Koch warned that “we are only halfway there, maximum.”

KOF has previously called on the government to do more to protect the economy during the pandemic. The government has so far set aside more than CHF60 billion to cover lost wages, issue emergency loans to companies and inject emergency funding into specific sectors.

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