ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland’s mechanical and electrical engineering companies are cautiously optimistic about their prospects for 2023 after the sector reported higher sales, exports and orders last year.
Sales rose 9.4% in 2022 compared with 2021, said Swissmem, the trade association whose members include ABB. liftmaker Schindler and Siemens.
Exports rose by 5.6% to 72.3 billion Swiss francs ($77.31 billion) while new orders received were 2.4% higher in 2022 than in 2021, the organisation said on Wednesday.
“Overall, the situation of the Swiss technology industry is better than feared,” said Swissmem Director Stefan Brupbacher “After the third quarter of 2022, we were expecting a downturn. So far, this has not yet materialized.”
Instead capacity utilization in the fourth quarter stood at 89.6%, well above the long-term average of 86.2%, while companies took on more staff.
Brupbacher said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the prospects for 2023, citing Swissmem’s latest survey which showed a third of members expecting higher orders from abroad in the coming 12 months.
Most growth momentum is expected to come from the United States and outside of Europe, Swissmem said, although some risks remained.
“In order to further reduce inflation, more interest rate moves by central banks seem likely,” said Brupbacher.
“This will cool the economy and consequently demand for our products. In addition, the risk of energy shortages next winter is still present.”
The biggest risks for the global economy, was a further escalation of the war in Ukraine and an exacerbation of the tensions between China and the U.S., Swissmem said.
($1 = 0.9352 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill, Editing by William Maclean)