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The following OECD assessment and recommendations summarise chapter 2 of the Economic survey of the United Kingdom survey of Switzerland published on 6 November 2007.
A traditionally sizeable external surplus has been on an uptrend since 1991 and has surged since 2002
Switzerland has traditionally recorded a surplus on its current external account. Prior to the 1990s that surplus showed no particular trend as a share of its GDP, averaging around 4%. However, beginning in 1991 it began what has been an almost uninterrupted ascent, culminating in the extraordinary figure of 15.6% of GDP in 2006. Indeed, this figure is unsurpassed in the history of OECD countries with the exception of Norway, though only in 2006 (thanks to its substantial oil revenues). But Switzerland has no significant natural resources. Its surplus should therefore be more amenable to analysis using the economist’s normal toolkit. The question to be faced here is what has caused this development and whether the surplus is appropriate for Switzerland, or, if not, what market or policy failures might be operating, and what should be done to remedy the situation.
The current account and its main components
As a percentage of GDP
Source: OECD, Main Economic Indicators database.
How to obtain this publication
The Policy Brief (pdf format) can be downloaded in English. It contains the OECD assessment and recommendations.The complete edition of the Economic survey of Switzerland 2007 is available from:
For further information please contact the Switzerland Desk at the OECD Economics Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. The OECD Secretariat's report was prepared by Andrés Fuentes, Claude Giorno and Eduardo Camero under the supervision of Peter Jarrett. Research assistance was provided by Françoise Correia.