ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland’s federal government budget could swing to a deficit of 40 billion Swiss francs ($41.19 billion) or more this year due to mounting unemployment caused by the coronavirus, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said on Wednesday.
“The unemployment rate will have a massive influence on the budget deficit,” Maurer told a news conference in Bern. “If the unemployment situation gets worse..then the budget deficit could rise to 40 billion francs or more.”
The deficit would be caused by increased costs for unemployment insurance, Maurer said. “At the moment we can simply say that at the end of the year the situation will look much worse than at the start of the year. How much, we still have to judge.”
Switzerland ran a federal budget surplus of 3.60 billion francs in 2019 as higher-than-expected revenue and a spending undershoot kept state finances firmly in the green.
Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields
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