Swiss financial affairs have long been a thing of mystery and wonder. Aside from the general disdain expressed by foreign governments toward Switzerland’s public and private banking institutions, the Swiss franc is not a coin that lends itself to be easily shortchanged. Swiss bank accounts have had fame and notoriety in the past for stark confidentiality agreements as well as attractive investment management options which allowed for a growing number of Swiss bank accounts to be opened by the likes of white collar criminals. And that’s exactly where the misconception is - Swiss bank accounts aren’t popular because of anonymity, they’re in demand because of the unparalleled financial security. One of the biggest reasons these bank accounts are able to thrive so well in such an isolated economy is because the Swiss franc has been a fierce champion for growth and stability. These financial tenets are more easily boasted than achieved, but against all odds the Swiss currency has provided a fiscal anchor in the sea of global economic uncertainty.
Any country that has had any of the Eurozone countries on its shortlist for trade has had its fair share of panic and uncertainty in the past decade alone. Switzerland is no exception; it was the Swiss currency that provided a shock of its own this time last year. During that time, the CHF (Swiss currency ticker) had grown too strong and had climbed up nearly 40% against both the EUR and USD. There were the expected concerns for export sales, luxury goods, and unemployment. The real worry lies in the possible imbroglio brought upon by negative interest rates instituted in hopes to weaken the franc. The last time the franc was remarkably distressed was during the Great Recession of 2008, when the outlook was far bleaker and the stakes higher as the rest of Europe’s economy was crumbling to the ground. Since then, Switzerland was able to recover faster than expected, even with the record low GDP growth observed in 2009. Even amongst the European countries, Switzerland experienced stronger and faster growth during the recovery period, quickly reestablishing its strength. This, however, is what lead to the 2015 currency shock when the franc became too strong.
The past year in Swiss economics was marked by a staggeringly low national growth rate and the growing concern of mass deindustrialization. The Frankenshock, as many have referred to it, is not fully in the rearview mirror and the efforts of Swiss leadership are met with adversity on most external fronts while the domestic state of affairs are definitely not fully stabilized, but far more promising than the country's Eurozone counterparts. As the old adage goes, “No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.” Switzerland may not be Mt. Everest at the moment, but it surely will not cave to its economic woes.