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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Switzerland's Aaa rating; outlook stable

23 May 2013

London, 23 May 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") has today affirmed the Aaa government bond rating of Switzerland, also known as the Swiss Confederation. The outlook remains stable.

The key drivers for the rating and outlook affirmation are:

1) The government's very high financial strength, a broad consensus on fiscal discipline and a favourable public debt burden.

2) Switzerland's very high economic strength, as reflected in its open, highly diversified economy and high average incomes, both of which are expected to be maintained over the long term.

3) The country's proven resilience, as is demonstrated by Switzerland's ability to weather the global financial crisis and the euro area crisis.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The first driver of Moody's decision to affirm Switzerland's Aaa rating and stable outlook is the rating agency's expectation that the country's public finances will remain healthy, even relative to its Aaa-rated global peers. Positive trends in the public finances are supported by a broad consensus on fiscal discipline in Switzerland, which has been institutionalised as a fiscal rule (the so-called "debt brake"). The public debt burden now compares favourably with the country's payment capacity, as indicated by low debt-to-revenue and interest-to-revenue ratios. The government's adjustment capacity is also significant, with no major constraints on its ability to generate additional revenue or restrain expenditures and ready access to finance in the event of need. The 2012 fiscal results showed a surplus of around 0.3% of GDP and highlight the government's ability to outperform its budgetary targets despite a weaker-than-expected growth environment in 2012. The results underscore the country's resilience to economic challenges faced elsewhere in the region and its status as an investor safe-haven.

The second driver of the rating affirmation is Switzerland's very high economic strength, as reflected in the country's open, highly developed and diversified economy that is both a major financial centre and an important producer of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Switzerland also has high average incomes, which are expected to be maintained over the long term. In addition, the country also has a long history of low inflation and benefits from a strong net external creditor position. Although the strength of the Swiss franc has caused problems for exporters in the context of the current crisis, the central bank's policies that have limited the appreciation in the franc are, on balance, credit-positive despite the longer-term inflation risks that they raise, and the challenges the Swiss National Bank will probably find in unwinding this policy.

The final driver of today's affirmation is the country's resilience, which has allowed it to weather both the global financial crisis and the euro area sovereign debt crisis without seeing a deterioration in public-finance metrics or the economy's medium-term growth prospects. For example, the government's and central bank's actions during the financial crisis demonstrate a willingness and ability to act quickly and decisively when a major financial institution required assistance.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATING DOWN

Although unlikely given the stable outlook, a substantial deterioration of debt metrics in absolute and relative terms that would have a negative impact on Switzerland's debt affordability would place downward pressure on the stable outlook and, if substantial, the Aaa rating itself.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Sovereign Bond Ratings published in September 2008. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

This rating was initiated by Moody's and was not requested by the rated entity.

This rated entity or its agent(s) participated in the rating process. The rated entity or its agent(s) provided Moody's access to the books, records and other relevant internal documents of the rated entity.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Sarah Carlson
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Sovereign Risk 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

Bart Jan Sebastian Oosterveld
MD - Sovereign Risk
Sovereign Risk Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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 affirms Switzerland's Aaa rating; outlook stable
No Related Data.
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