Category Archives: World Economy

The long ‘bridge’ of carbon capture and storage technology

by Dr. Carole Nakhle*

most of the worlds CCS projects are located in the US
Today, most of the world’s CCS projects are located in the U.S. (source: macpixxel for GIS)

  • CCS is one of the solutions necessary for reaching global climate goals
  • The technology can make fossil fuel extraction cleaner and more efficient
  • Costs are high, while varying market conditions create uncertainty
  • Reaching the necessary capacity to help reduce climate change looks unlikely

There is no single magic bullet for turning global energy consumption patterns toward a cleaner future. Greening energy is not just about developing alternative sources of energy or ending the fossil-fuel era. Any technology that aims to reduce the environmental footprint of the fossil fuels industry also falls under this category. One such technology is carbon capture and storage (CCS) which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main culprit behind planetary warming, before they make it into the atmosphere.

Fossil fuels – oil, coal and natural gas – will continue to provide the lion’s share of global energy needs for the foreseeable future. In light of growing energy demand, it is therefore not surprising to hear Dr. Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), stating that without carbon capture technology, “reaching our international climate goals is practically impossible.”

The technology also provides a precious lifeline for the fossil fuels industry, decarbonizing its activities. No wonder the industry-led Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) has established a fund of more than $1 billion to accelerate the development of innovative low-emission technologies. Half of that sum is allocated to CCS.

The importance of CCS became widely recognized following the publication of a special report on the technology in 2005 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, to reach the desired targets, the world would need to capture, store or use around 850 million tons per annum (mtpa) of CO2, argues the OGCI. That would correspond to a more than 25-fold increase in global CCS capacity from the current 30 mtpa. Such a large increase is unlikely under existing conditions.


To have a reasonable chance of keeping global average temperature increases from exceeding preindustrial levels by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the IPCC argues that worldwide CO2 emissions must be reduced by about 45 percent from 2010 levels (of around 31 billion tons) by 2030, reaching “net zero” by 2050, whereby any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air. But global emissions continue to rise. In 2017, world CO2 emissions exceeded a staggering 33 billion tons.

Since energy supply, including electric power generation, and heavy industry (especially cement, iron and steel) account for nearly half of the carbon emissions in the world, targeting emissions from these two sectors would make a major contribution to the IPCC’s target. According to the IEA, CCS remains the only technology solution capable of delivering significant emissions reductions from the use of fossil fuels in these sectors.

Often described as a “bridging technology,” CCS is not a new practice. It has been around for decades and is widely used by the oil industry, primarily to boost production from a reservoir as part of the “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR) technique. Once all the commercial oil has been squeezed out, the CO2 remains buried in the depleted field. The use of CCS for EOR remains the most dominant application around the world, especially in the United States.

The first large-scale dedicated CCS initiative, the Sleipner project off the Norwegian coast, came on stream in 1996, taking CO2 from a natural gas production facility and injecting nearly 1 mtpa of it (about 3 percent of Norway’s total emissions) some 800-1,100 meters beneath the seabed.

Simple concept

CCS involves three processes: the capture, transport and permanent storage of CO2. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) is one variation of CCS, whereby the CO2 is used in the production of commercial products such as chemicals. Hence the description of this technique as “recycling” CO2.

CSS Process

The capture of CO2 can be done from fuel combustion or industrial processes. Around 90 percent of the CO2 produced from these processes can be captured. The compressed CO2 is then transported – typically via ship or pipeline – and either used in other production processes or injected deep underground in geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas fields, for permanent storage. This prevents it from getting into the atmosphere and minimizing the harmful effects of climate change.

CCS technology buries carbon dioxide deep underground. Some estimates have found that by 2040, Earth could store up to 5 billion tons of CO2 per year (source: macpixxel for GIS)
CCS technology buries carbon dioxide deep underground. Some estimates have found that by 2040, Earth could store up to 5 billion tons of CO2 per year (source: macpixxel for GIS)
In this respect, the potential is substantial. By 2040, according to French oil and gas giant Total, the planet could store up to 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the emissions of more than 3 billion cars.


Currently, there are 20 large-scale CCS/CCUS projects in operation. These are mostly located in developed countries, primarily the U.S. Three are under construction – two in China and one in Australia. In addition, there are more than 100 smaller-scale projects.

Out of the nine facilities operating in the U.S., the Petra Nova project in Thompsons, Texas, which began functioning in 2017, stands out. With its CCUS configuration, it is the world’s largest and one of only two operating carbon capture units in the world attached to a coal-fired power plant – the WA Parish plant, itself one of the largest dual-fired (coal and gas) power plants in the U.S. The other similar project is the Boundary Dam plant in Saskatchewan, Canada, with a capture capacity of 1 mtpa of CO2. The Petra Nova project uses post-combustion carbon capture technology, and the captured CO2 is used to enhance oil production from the West Ranch Oil Field, about 132 kilometers away. The project is a partnership between American power company NRG Energy and Japan’s JX Nippon. Petra Nova has an annual capture capacity of 1.4 million tons of CO2, equivalent to the emissions produced by more than 350,000 cars.

Carbon capture and storage facts

In 2017, CO2 emissions rose after three flat years. According to initial IEA estimates, emissions rose again in 2018, reaching record highs
Globally, more than 30 million tons of CO2 are captured by large-scale CCUS facilities for use or storage. More than 70 percent of this occurs in North America (IEA, 2018)
The total public funding directed to CCUS project deployment over the past 10 years amounts to just 3% of that spent on subsidies for renewable power generation in 2016 alone (IEA, 2018)
The In Salah project in Algeria is the first to use geological storage of CO2 in a producing gas reservoir
Launched in 2014, the OGCI’s members include: BP, Chevron, CNPC, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, Pemex, Petrobras, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell and Total
Governments are keen to expand the technology’s application. In 2018, the U.S. government introduced significant fiscal incentives for CCUS investment. According to the IEA, these could trigger the largest surge in carbon capture investment of any policy instrument to date, on the magnitude of $1 billion over the next six years. That investment could create between 10 million and 30 million tons of additional CO2 capture capacity and enhance oil production through EOR by 50,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. At the same time, it would increase total global carbon capture by around two thirds.

Europe is showing equal dedication, especially with the North Sea’s favorable geology for storing CO2. Several offshore oil and gas fields will soon reach the end of their commercial life and would thereafter be available to use for CO2 storage. In October 2017, the UK government announced its goal to become a global technology leader for CCUS as part of its Clean Growth Strategy.

Recently, the Norwegian government awarded its national oil company, Equinor, the right to develop the world’s first offshore CO2 storage site. The CO2 would be sent to the facility from several onshore industrial sources. Those sources would capture the CO2 and send it to a receiving plant. There, it would be pumped to the offshore facility and buried 2,000 meters below the seabed. If the project works out, it could become the world’s first international CCS facility, since it could take CO2 from neighboring countries. Apart from support through direct funding, the Norwegian government has put a price on carbon emissions and is imposing a carbon tax, thereby encouraging companies to explore CO2 reduction alternatives.

Difficult pursuit

Equinor argues that while it may sound simple in principle, CCS requires completely new, bespoke technology throughout the process from the power station to offshore and into the ground. It describes the technology as “one of the greatest energy infrastructure challenges in the world today.”

Cost is a major handicap, with huge upfront investment and long-term exposure to risk and further expenses. The Petra Nova project comes with a price tag of $1 billion. The Kemper project, also in the U.S., ran into serious delays and cost overruns – construction costs exceeded $7.5 billion, compared to an initial estimate of $2.4 billion. The project was subsequently abandoned. The UK government’s new CCUS strategy is subject to “costs coming down sufficiently.”

There is also a wide variation in expenses, partly depending on location. Estimates put costs in Europe at up to 60 percent higher than in the U.S. Reservoir conditions, how the reservoir is developed, utilization, financing, and prevailing market and regulatory conditions are some of the reasons for the cost variations. According to a study for the UK government, costs can range from GBP 20 per ton of CO2 to more than GBP 500 per ton.

Project economics are highly sensitive to oil prices and the cost of alternative technologies, including investment in renewable energy, government policies and state finances, among others. According to a 2016 IEA report, policy on CCUS has fluctuated sharply, with government support gaining momentum through the first decade of the century but waning post-2009, after the failure of the Copenhagen meeting on climate change to reach a deal and following the global financial crisis and the collapse in oil prices. As a result, “more than 20 advanced large-scale CCS projects were canceled between 2010 and 2016 and the announced funding commitments were either scaled back or withdrawn across Europe, the United States and Australia,” the agency found. The IPCC 2005 report on CCS also highlights the importance of policies (including financial incentives for deployment), as well as technical aspects such as whether the risks of storage can be successfully managed.

Although the capture component of CCS is particularly expensive and energy intensive, the costs and risks will continue for decades: storage sites require continuous monitoring and assessment to ensure safe storage. Then there is the issue of long-term liability. The IPCC report states that “few countries have specifically developed legal or regulatory frameworks for long-term CO2 storage.” More recently, the Global CCS Institute assessed the readiness of over 50 nations for CCS and found that no nation has “yet established the conditions necessary to drive deployment at the rate required to meet ambitious climate targets.”

Back in 2007, the UK government announced that several CCS projects had been proposed by British industry and that the government planned to select one or more of these projects before the end of the following year, with the aim to have them fully operational by 2014. Twelve years later, the UK is yet to build its first CCS facility, with the government still describing the technology as “pre-commercial.” With the existing myriad of challenges, reaching commerciality seems like chasing the end of the rainbow.

*Dr. Carole Nakhle is the founder and CEO of Crystol Energy, an advisory, research and training firm based in London. An energy economist, she specializes in international petroleum contractual arrangements and fiscal regimes; upstream oil and gas regulations; petroleum revenue management and governance; energy policy, security and investment; and world oil and gas market developments.
She has worked with oil and gas companies (NOCs and IOCs), governments and policy makers, international organisations, academic institutions and specialized think tanks on a global scale. She is a regular contributor to Geopolitical Intelligence Services on energy matters, a program advisor to the Washington-based International Tax and Investment Center, a Member of the Executive Sessions on the Political Economy of Extractive Industries at Columbia University and a Participant in the OECD Policy Dialogue on Natural Resource-based Development.

Commodity and Foreign Exchange Trading

Some notes and high points by Steve H. Hanke*

Hanke Commodity and Foreign Exchange Trading

About the Series | The Studies in Applied Economics series is under the general direction of Prof. Steve H. Hanke, Co-Director of The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.

Commodity and Foreign Exchange Trading. Some Notes and High Points

My Introduction to Commodity Markets | I grew up in Iowa, where I was introduced to commodity markets at a very early age – livestock and grain markets. Over 65 years ago, I learned how to sell eggs forward (hedging) on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by assisting my grandfather. He had a large egg candling operation and supplied NYC with eggs. A few years later, at the age of 14 years, I opened my first trading account and started trading soybeans.

An Early and Long-Term Focus on Water Resources | I have had a long association with water resources engineering and management, including responsibility for the water resources portfolio at the White House during the Reagan years. The linked synopsis covers all that.

The Start of a Long-Term Focus on Mineral and Petroleum Economics | I had the good fortune to be a member of the faculty – my first faculty position – at the Colorado School of Mines (1966-1969), where I taught the first mineral economics and petroleum economics courses offered at Mines …

Download the PDF here ->
Commodity and Foreign Exchange Trading

* Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., a Senior Advisor at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing, a Special Counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York, a contributing editor at Central Banking in London, and a contributor at Forbes. Prof. Hanke is also a member of the Charter Council of the Society of Economic Measurement and of Euromoney Country Risk’s Experts Panel.

In the past, Prof. Hanke taught economics at the Colorado School of Mines and at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as a Member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers in Maryland in 1976-77, as a Senior Economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1981-82, and as a Senior Advisor to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress in 1984-88. Prof. Hanke served as a State Counselor to both the Republic of Lithuania in 1994-96 and the Republic of Montenegro in 1999-2003. He was also an Advisor to the Presidents of Bulgaria in 1997-2002, Venezuela in 1995-96, and Indonesia in 1998. He played an important role in establishing new currency regimes in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lithuania, and Montenegro. Prof. Hanke has also held senior appointments in the governments of many other countries, including Albania, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia.

Prof. Hanke has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Universität Liechtenstein, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, the Free University of Tbilisi, Istanbul Kültür University, and Varna Free University in recognition of his scholarship on exchange-rate regimes. He is a Distinguished Associate of the International Atlantic Economic Society, a Distinguished Professor at the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia, a Professor Asociado (the highest honor awarded to international experts of acknowledged competence) at the Universidad del Azuay in Cuenca, Ecuador, a Profesor Visitante at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (the UPC’s highest academic honor), In 1998, he was named one of the twenty-five most influential people in the world by World Trade Magazine.

Foundation in Liechtenstein | Prof. Hanke is a well-known currency and commodity trader. Currently, he is a member of the Supervisory Board of Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V. in Amsterdam, Chairman Emeritus of the Friedberg Mercantile Group, Inc. in Toronto, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Airtm in Mexico City. During the 1990s, he served as President of Toronto Trust Argentina in Buenos Aires, the world’s best-performing emerging market mutual fund in 1995.

Prof. Hanke’s most recent books are Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation to Growth (2008), A Blueprint for a Safe, Sound Georgian Lari (2010), Juntas Monetarias para Paises en Desarollo (2015), Currency Boards for Developing Countries: A Handbook (2015)

Steve Hanke Lecture on “Money, Banking and Markets”

Steve Hanke Lecture on Money, Banking and Markets | Almost exactly 10 years ago, amid the rapidly worsening ‘subprime mortgage crisis’, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., was forced to file for bankruptcy. Shortly thereafter, actually within hours AIG collapsed, triggered a run on most money-market funds, which accelerated a cash crunch and ultimately not only wrecked the economy by abolishing millions of jobs. It also caused catastrophic material, social and moral damage. Ever since, countless biased statements and false explanations dominate the political debates.

Prof. Steve H. Hanke will be talking at Liechtenstein University in Vaduz (Sep. 27) and at the LGT Global Investment Seminar in Zurich (Sep. 28). The ‘first Steve Hanke Lecture on Money, Banking and Markets’ thus was timely titled: “A Postmortem on the Policy Blunders that Caused and Extended the Great Recession”.

Steve H. Hanke (Johns Hopkins University and recently appointed as ‘G. v. Haberler Professor, ECAEF’) ranks among the world’s leading and most influential monetary economists. Backed by persuasive arguments, plain facts and a host of charts he not only proved that in sharp contrast to the official narrative, the US monetary policy since 2002 acted pro-cyclical. These policies triggered the notorious bubbles, let them pop up and lead to the “Great Recession” of 2008/2009.

Among other examples, Hanke also exposed H. Paulson’s role and clearly showed that in spite of his given authority to rescue Lehman Brothers and contrary to the distorted public account, Ben Bernanke (then chair of the FED) in a politically motivated panic reaction failed to act appropriately, and thus unleashed the most terrifying moment for the US economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

According to Prof. Hanke, we should be more careful of what we read, take for granted and use for investment planning, as 95% of all published financial and monetary reports on policy matters are either ‘false or irrelevant’. After all, there is nothing more practical than a good theory!

Initiated as a co-operation of the ‘European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, ECAEF’ and the ‘Liechtenstein Academy, LAF’, the ‘Steve Hanke Lecture on Money, Banking and Markets’ is intended as an annual public lecture series at the Liechtenstein Academy (Schloss Freudenfels Campus) and at the University in Vaduz.

*Steve H. Hanke is an American applied economist at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is also a Senior Fellow and Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, DC, and Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise in Baltimore.

Could Digital Currencies Make Hayek’s Denationalization of Money Dream Come True?

by Dr. Emanuele Canegrati (Italy)
Fellow Liechtenstein Academy

Could Digital Currencies Make Hayek’s Denationalization of Money Dream Come True? And can a basket of cryptocurrencies be the new world monetary basis? Perhaps it is too early to answer these questions, as the cryptocurrencies and the blockchain revolution is only at its very beginning and digital moneys such as Bitcoin or Litecoin are still considered by many famous economists and investors only as a big financial bubble ready to burst. But, left aside all the speculation-related issues, that certainly surround the current digital currencies market, one may be brave and answer in a positive way. In his best-seller book “The Denationalization of Money” (1976) Friedrich Hayek expressed his thoughts about the role of currencies, by advocating the establishment of competitively issued private moneys, against the public money issued by central banks. Those central banks that still have the decisional monopoly power on money today.

could digital currencies make hayeks denationalization of money dream come true
Could digital currencies make Hayek’s denationalization of money dream come true?

In 1978 Hayek published also a revised and enlarged edition of the book entitled “Denationalization of Money: The Argument Refined”, where he proposed a monetary system where, rather than entertaining an unmanageable number of currencies, markets would converge on one or only a limited number of monetary standards. According to Hayek’s idea, private business should be given the opportunity to issue their own private currencies, which, thanks to the free market mechanisms, would compete for acceptance. The acceptance of a currency is given by its reaching the stability in value, as competition tends to favor currencies with the greatest stability, since currency devaluation hurts creditors, while a revaluation hurts debtors. Therefore, stability emerges as a “spontaneous order” of the market, rather than through a political decision made by central bankers, through the “monetary policies”, for whatever they mean. Hence, customer-citizens would choose the monies which they expected to offer a mutually acceptable intersection between depreciation and appreciation. Hayek maintained also that institutions may find through experimentation that a basket of commodities forms the ideal monetary base. Institutions would issue and regulate their currency primarily through loan-making, and secondarily through currency buying and selling activities. It is postulated that the financial press would report daily information on whether institutions are managing their currencies within a previously-defined tolerance.

If we analyze now the market of cryptocurrencies, we can easily observe the presence of many elements characterizing the Hayekean monetary world. First of all, private issuing. Digital currencies are completely issued trough a private mechanism, linked to the computerized mining process, which is somehow comparable with the more classic gold mining. And, yes, Bitcoin has often been assimilated to gold. Of course, there is a huge difference between the precious metal and a digital currency, as the first is a metal, with specific features such as brilliance, durability, beauty and preservability over time, which of course a digital currency does not possess. Nevertheless, cryptocurrencies could have a common feature with gold, which makes them candidates for being the base of a monetary system: scaresness. According to Bitcoin creators, the most famous digital currency of the world should be issued in the limited quantity of 21 million. Not a bitcoin more. Once the total quantity would be achieved, the skyrocketing price should stabilize or change according to the demand/supply law. Gold, as well, is limited, although nobody can quantify its precise quantity. We only know that this quantity is finite.

The ability of digital currencies to be used as a medium of exchange, in finite quantities and in a decentralized issuance could make them suitable for being the base of a libertarian monetary system. Of course, they are not perfect monies, as one may argue that they can be stolen by hakers from savers’ digital wallets, their limit may be raised by miners’ decisions and so on. We are just at the very beginning of what could be a monetary revolution. Only time will demonstrate if these new currencies will be adopted as the new world monetary standard or they will disappear as fast as they has been introduced. And, yet, after having seen the disasters committed by central bankers through their “ultra-expansionary” monetary policies (read, print fiat money as much as you can) these new instruments deserve a chance.

China’s Coming Debt Crisis

by Henrique Schneider* for

The problem of debt in China is not the bursting of a bubble. It is much worse. As the Middle Kingdom approaches the worldwide record of accumulated debt, productivity losses are becoming increasingly apparent. That is very bad news. Every economy relies of a certain amount of debt. That is an empirical fact. But China’s total debt—the sum of government, corporate and household borrowings—has soared since 2008, and is now almost 300 percent of the country’ gross domestic product GDP. This is far higher than any other emerging market and higher than stablished economies.  Total debt in Japan, the poster child for indebtedness, is 229 percent of GDP, the United States 104.17 percent.

China’s Coming Debt Crisis: Accumulated debt reaches a world record as productivity falls
China’s Coming Debt Crisis: Accumulated debt reaches a world record as productivity falls

In the year 2008, the Chinese government used a massive fiscal injection to insulate its economy against the worldwide crisis. Since then, at least three further stimulus-programs were put in place. Because of China’s policy architecture, these fiscal actions were always in synch with debt expansion.

As government paid for new roads in the provinces, it made provinces build additional public works and banks lend to provinces in order to facilitate these investments. As state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were expected to expand globally, banks were equally expected to render financial help. All these expectations – which still have an overly mandatory component – inflated the debt of all economic agents in the country.

The numbers speak for themselves. While total Chinese debt amounted less than RMB20 trillion in 2002, it passed the RMB160 trillion mark in 2016. By 2009, private household debt was around RMB6 trillion; in 2016 it reached RMB20 trillion. In the same seven years, private corporate debt climbed from RMB9 trillion to RMB30 trillion and government debt went from RMB15 trillion to RMB40 trillion. What about the SOEs? Their debt soared from RMB32 trillion to RMB76 trillion.

Through the relativity prism, all other sectors had much higher debt-growth than the SOEs, which just doubled their stock. But, in absolute terms, it is the SOEs that hold alone almost the half of all debt. And doubling an already high amount of loans and credit from 2009 to 2016 is impressive as such. To further put this into perspective. In the same time-frame, the debt-to-assets ratio of private enterprises decreased from 56 percent to 52 percent. In the SOEs, it spiked from 57 percent to 63 percent.

To complete this picture: The productivity of debt is plunging. In the year of 2008, for each renminbi in credit, an SEO could turn 0.7 RMB in productive work. Today, it is barely 0.25. Also, the overall productivity of labor is stagnating. In some sectors and in the lowest brackets of income, it is even falling.

Many economic scenarios about China are concerned with the bursting of the debt bubble. Since more than half of China’s debt is owned by SOEs and private property developers, as the economy slows and housing prices fall, many of these loans will prove unpayable. Banks report that bad loans are just 1 percent of their assets and their auditors insist that the banks are not lying, but investors price banks’ shares as if the true level is closer to 10 percent. With the failing of SEOs and property as collateral, many provinces will not be able to sustain their debt. The whole system implodes, so goes this version.

This picture, however, might be getting some things wrong. If companies and provinces fail, the Chinese command-and-control economy will have little trouble in saving and bailing-out institutions as well as rolling-over debt. If that does not work, it can redistribute this debt with a massive supertax on the citizens. These two instruments – which are also becoming increasingly acceptable to so-called western economies – should be enough to stop any bursting. But they are not enough to address the problem of productivity-loss. And this problem is not a future scenario. It is already real.

Economies relying on debt and artificially low interest-rates tend to report aggregate growth while stagnating or even shrinking on a microeconomic level. But without the microeconomic growth of labor and capital productivity, there is no wage growth, no expansion of the private capital base which invests in the future and no establishment of a solid middle class. In an emerging economy, as China is, this could even lead to a middle-income trap. If a crisis hits or a bubble bursts – two events that are possible but not probable for China in the next couple of years – without productivity growth to compensate, asset values deflate and the effects of debt become even more pressing. This is the real bad news behind the actual debt situation in China.

Read the original article at China’s Coming Dept Crisis

*Henrique Schneider is chief economist of the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises.