Public perception of the Swiss economy in the first quarter of 2020 is entirely marked by the Corona crisis, especially since the measures imposed by the Federal Council at the end of February 2020 (ban on events) and the proclamation of the “extraordinary situation” on 16 March.

The Swiss Economy Reputation Index (SERX) is characterised by the following developments in the first quarter of 2020:

  • While January was still characterized by strong reputational gains in the sectors transport & logistics (new passenger records at Swiss and Zurich airport) as well as pharma & chemicals (successful annual results), a fundamentally different assessment perspective has been taking hold since the emergence of the all-dominant coronavirus coverage.

The graph shows the shift in the reputation of SERX according to SRI® per month. Reading example: In March 2020, SERX gained 0.8 SRI® index points.

  • In contrast to the financial crisis of 2008, this time it is not economic upheavals (such as the bursting of the real estate bubble in the USA) that are at the origin of the crisis, but a global health crisis manifesting itself due to the coronavirus, and only afterwards the resulting fear of the economic consequences.
  • In other words: from a public perspective, the blame for the current crisis is not attributed to individual economic sectors or even companies but is understood as a problem for society as a whole. Therefore, companies are currently hardly judged by the concrete consequences of the corona virus on the economic situation, but rather by social and moral aspects (e.g. compliance with the guidelines of the Federal Council, goodwill and support towards particularly affected SMEs.
  • Because of their central role in the handling of the multi-billion-dollar corona emergency loans, the main beneficiaries of this altered assessment perspective are the banks, especially the domestic institutions. On the other hand, the insurers, which continue to be top-rated overall, are threatened by the loss of their advantage of contrast established in the wake of the financial crisis (“Banks vs. insurers: for whom is the time of favor?”). –, 30/03/2020).
  • While the life science and food sectors were able to maintain and expand their already good reputations, not only insurers, but also the engineering industry (effects of oil price slump and corona crisis), the technology sector (intensification of one-off problems at AMS, among others) as well as the luxury goods industry (sales problems following Hong Kong protests and corona virus in China) are under pressure.
  • The fundamentally different assessment perspective triggered by the corona crisis has led to an overall improvement in the opinion climate towards the Swiss economy in the first three months of the year. SERX rose by a substantial 1.9 points and now stands at 91.4 index points.

SERX – Swiss Economy Reputation Index

The Swiss Economy Reputation Index (SERX), which is currently made up of 157 private sector and state-related companies, shows on a consolidated basis how the public perception of the Swiss economy and its key sectors has developed over time.