Berend, Lukas; Brunhart, Andreas; Geiger, Martin (2024): Stagnation der liechtensteinischen Güterexporte: Bestandsaufnahme und Ursachensuche. LI Focus 2/2024. Liechtenstein-Institut, Gamprin-Bendern.

publication year:
2024

This LI Focus 2/2024 uses a broad international foreign trade data set at country and goods category level to analyze the reasons for the weak growth trend in Liechtenstein’s goods exports since the 2008/09 financial crisis in an international comparison. While the fact that globalization has clearly lost momentum since the financial crisis was certainly not conducive to Liechtenstein’s export economy, it cannot explain why Liechtenstein’s goods exports have developed worse than in other European countries in recent years. The sectoral orientation of the export economy (primarily mechanical engineering and the metal processing industry) also does not appear to explain Liechtenstein’s long-term decoupling from global goods trade growth.

In contrast to goods exports, employment and especially value added in the industrial sector in Liechtenstein developed positively. The available data suggest that the production capacities of Liechtenstein’s industrial companies expanded significantly less in Liechtenstein than abroad and that this trend can be seen as the main cause of the decoupling of Liechtenstein’s goods exports from global economic growth. During the same period, research and headquarter functions expanded relatively strongly in Liechtenstein. This structural change was accentuated by the continuing upward trend of the Swiss franc and the resulting deterioration in international price competitiveness. Although the production of goods in Liechtenstein increased less than abroad, this led to positive cash flows back to Liechtenstein (e.g. from internal accounting of intermediate consumption or from profits generated abroad). This structural change is also reflected in the positive development of value added and foreign sales of Liechtenstein’s industrial companies compared to export figures.