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2023-12-20 – 4/2023 – Business cycle signals: SNB regional network

Fourth quarter of 2023

Report submitted to the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank for its quarterly monetary policy assessment The appraisals presented here are based on discussions between the SNB’s delegates for regional economic relations and members of management at companies throughout Switzerland. In its evaluation, the SNB aggregates and interprets the information received. A total of 239 company talks were conducted between 10 October and 28 November.

Key points

• Growth in the Swiss economy was modest in the fourth quarter. There were moderate increases in turnover in the services sector and construction. Manufacturing, by contrast, saw business activity stagnate.

• Utilisation of technical capacity in manufacturing declined markedly. In many places, companies significantly reduced their order backlogs that had still been good in the previous quarters.

• Staff shortages have eased somewhat but hiring specialist staff continues to require considerable effort.

• Given the decline in inflation and subdued business activity, companies expect wage growth to slow to around 2% in the coming year.

• In most cases profit margins are at a solid level. However, the renewed increase in competition due to the weak development of demand is reducing the latitude in pricing.

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