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Economic expert Vontobel classifies: create, create, make minus

Economic expert Werner Vontobel classifies

Schaffa, schaffa – minus do

Last year, Switzerland worked out a surplus of CHF 73 billion – and still lost CHF 223 billion. We save ourselves.

95.2 billion francs! The National Bank’s record loss in the last six months made the headlines. But this number can easily be topped if we look at the whole of Switzerland instead of the National Bank. According to the latest data from the National Bank, Switzerland has achieved a current account surplus of CHF 73 billion in the last four quarters (up to the first quarter of 2022), but its net foreign assets have not increased by this amount, but by no less than CHF 223 billion Franc decreased. A net loss of almost 300 billion – three times that of the SNB.

Certainly. That was an exceptional year and our foreign assets have always been subject to major fluctuations. No reason to panic. Nevertheless, an unfavorable long-term pattern is confirmed: our hard-earned surpluses are repeatedly wiped out by the devaluation of our assets. This also applies to the past ten years, for example. Despite 520 billion cumulative surpluses, net worth has fallen by around 100 billion. This results in a negative annual return on assets of almost 6 percent. And even if we compare the highest level of assets to date of 874 billion with the values ​​of ten years earlier, the final accounts do not look good: cumulative surpluses of 513 billion francs only increased the net assets by 110 billion. Here, too, the return on assets is clearly in the red.

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