Economic environment

According to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the world economy started along the path to a moderate recovery in 2013. Although just two years ago serious risks – from the continuing escalation of the Euro debt crisis to the possible uncontrolled collapse of the currency area – had dominated events, the situation has eased significantly since then. Nevertheless, the recovery is not uniform across all economic areas. Whereas in the USA, in spite of a fiscal policy headwind, the economy was able to put in a relatively robust performance in 2013, the economic situation in the Eurozone improved only sluggishly. At the same time, the restrictive budget policy in the developed economies continued to weigh on global growth.

As far as investors are concerned, confidence in the financial markets has grown again somewhat. The recovery from the financial and debt crises of recent years is largely attributable to the expansive monetary policy of the central banks, which contributed to the extremely good stock market year in 2013. Even the tapering off of bond purchases by the US Federal Reserve in December was unable to tarnish the positive sentiment on the stock markets. In contrast, the bond markets reacted negatively, and in the case of gold and commodities a severe price correction occurred. The restraint and uncertainty among investors is still noticeable. For private individuals, the safety of an investment is the primary consideration. Besides this a trend towards simple and comprehensible capital investments can be discerned.

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