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Announcement:

Moody's: Solid economy and strong fiscal discipline underpin Switzerland's credit profile

11 Dec 2014

London, 11 December 2014 -- Switzerland (Aaa stable)'s solid economy and strong fiscal discipline with low debt underpin the sovereign's credit profile, says Moody's Investors Service in a report published yesterday. The rating agency notes that the government will likely return to budgetary surpluses from 2015 onward and that contingent liabilities from the banking sector have materially declined.

Moody's report, entitled "Switzerland, Government of," is available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release. The rating agency's report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.

"Switzerland's credit profile is very strong, driven by a wealthy, highly competitive and diversified economy, a strong and transparent institutional set-up and a robust government balance sheet. It is one of the few advanced economies that posted continuous fiscal surpluses over the past few years, and the public debt level, as compared with peers, is low," says Kathrin Muehlbronner, a Senior Credit Officer at Moody's.

Switzerland has one of the wealthiest economies in the world, with GDP per capita on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis at close to $54,000 in 2013, and an economic performance that compares well with peers, in particular those in Europe. Economic growth in 2014, at an estimated 1.8%, will be only marginally lower than in 2013 and Moody's expects it to accelerate again to 2.3% next year.

The rating agency notes that a potentially negative impact on Switzerland's medium-term growth prospects could emerge as a result of the referendum on the 'Mass Immigration Initiative' in February 2014, which will re-establish quotas for foreign workers and asylum seekers. This introduces a significant degree of uncertainty over the future of the many other bilateral agreements that Switzerland has with the EU.

In addition, Switzerland's high and rising household leverage, which represents 120% of GDP -- mainly related to mortgages -- exposes the financial system and the economy to risks in a scenario of a sharp downward correction of house prices. However, Moody's believes that this risk is to an important extent mitigated by Swiss households' large assets, with financial assets amounting to close to 350% of GDP in 2013, and the pro-active policies implemented by the Swiss authorities to increase the resilience of the banking sector and slow the housing market.

Switzerland's strong fiscal performance is helped by the existence of a transparent rules-based fiscal framework, including a constitutional debt brake that has been in effect since 2003. The cornerstone of the debt brake consists of the simple rule that over the cycle expenditure may not exceed receipts. As a consequence of the persistent budgetary discipline, the public debt level has declined continuously from a peak of 50.7% of GDP in 2003 to an estimated 33.8% of GDP this year. Moody's expects a budget surplus at the general government level next year, after a broadly balanced outcome in 2014.

The country's large banking sector constitutes a credit challenge, though Moody's considers the associated risks for the sovereign to have materially declined over the past few years. Swiss banks have deleveraged significantly and the Swiss authorities have implemented regulatory measures to increase the resilience of the system. In Moody's view, Switzerland's bank resolution and creditor bail-in regime is well advanced.

Subscribers can access the report at:

https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_177716

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: London +44-20-7772-5456, New York +1-212-553-0376, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Kathrin Muehlbronner
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Alastair Wilson
MD-Global Sovereign Risk
Unknown Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's: Solid economy and strong fiscal discipline underpin Switzerland's credit profile
No Related Data.
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