Country Risk March 1997: Switzerland takes a tumble
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Country Risk March 1997: Switzerland takes a tumble

Continental Europe makes way for Scandinavia and North America in Euromoney's biannual survey of country creditworthiness. Pressure to conform to Maastricht criteria on Emu has dampened growth, tightened budget deficits and weakened consumer demand. High unemployment and currency weaknesses have pushed countries such as Switzerland, France and Italy down the ranking. Rebecca Dobson reports.

For historical country risk data please visit the Euromoney Country risk website

Switzerland, ranked first in September 1995 and second in March and September 1996, dropped significantly in this March's rankings, falling eight places to tenth position. Switzerland has experienced six years of negligible growth and was the only major economy to contract last year, by approximately 0.6%. According to Euromoney's global economic projections, GNP growth this year will only be around 0.9% as the country contends with the deflation of the Swiss franc and a domestic banking sector in disarray.

Otherwise the top of the chart looks very similar to last September's with Luxembourg firmly in first place and the US moving up one rung to number two. The US has been bolstered by the disappearance of budget deficit worries and the historical lows in interest rates and inflation. Steady Singapore comes in third, reaping the benefits of the government's convincing election victory and its implications for growth and stability.

But in Europe it's mainly a negative story with the pressure to qualify for the European Union's single currency taking its toll.

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