Switzerland: Economic sentiment dives on weaker banking and manufacturing sectors in January, erasing Q4’s gains
In January, the KOF economic barometer—a leading composite indicator for the Swiss economy forecasting a six-month period—fell by 4.5 points, to 106.9 from a revised 111.4 in December (previously reported: 111.3). January’s result was the weakest reading since September and broke a four-month streak of gains. Moreover, it confounded analysts’ expectations that the indicator would remain stable from December. That said, January’s reading still landed above the 100-point threshold, signaling continued economic expansion above the series’ long-run average.
January’s easing, according to the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, was primarily due to weakness in the banking sector—which had been an occasional trouble spot for the economy late last year. Declining new orders in manufacturing, especially in the chemical and wood-processing industries, also held back the indicator’s overall performance. Moreover, the construction sector slowed in the month. Despite exports and private consumption both easing in January, the indicator’s press release stressed that the economy still remained more dynamic than in mid-2017.