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Articles by Investec

Swiss supercomputer aims to make AI open to all

Much of the progress being made in AI is captured within private companies aiming to keep in to themselves in order to profit from it. Open AI, a project started as an open-source non-profit has morphed into a largely closed-source profit-maximising project increasingly integrated into the software company Microsoft.

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Swiss unemployment lowest in 20 years

On 9 January 2023, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published the latest figures for the Swiss labor market in 2022 showing unemployment at its lowest rate for 20 years.

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Swiss inflation stable in October

Switzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) remained stable in October 2022 compared with the previous month, reported Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) this week.

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38% of Swiss speak more than one language at work

In many places one language is all that is required at work. In Switzerland, 37.7% of workers surveyed reported regularly using two or more languages at work, according to data published by the Federal Statistical Office on 6 September 2022.

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Swiss GDP growth jumps in 2021

Switzerland’s Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.2% in 2021, according to recently released data by Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The increase follows a decrease of -2.4% in 2020, a year marking the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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Swiss government prepares for electricity price shock

Switzerland’s leaders are concerned by the current volatility of electricity prices and have started planning for a potential disaster scenario, reported RTS.

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.comThe war in Ukraine has impacted energy provision across Europe, said Swiss energy minister Simonetta Sommaruga on Thursday. Price movements have reached historical levels and could worsen if gas supplies from Russia stop. If the price of gas spikes, some electricity suppliers could experience a liquidity crunch, setting off a chain reaction across Europe’s highly integrated electricity market.

To avoid bankruptcy and market paralysis, the Federal Council’s plans to create a financial mechanism of last resort to save Switzerland’s systematically important electricity companies in a crunch. We

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Swiss exports reach all-time high

Data published on 17 March 2022 showed a 15.4% jump in Swiss exports in February 2022. The sharp rise in exports when combined with a 2.9% fall in imports led to a monthly trade balance of CHF 5.7 million. This is the first time in history that Switzerland’s monthly trade balance has exceeded CHF 5 million.

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Swiss inflation jumps sharply in February

The high inflation across the world is rippling as far as Switzerland. During the month of February 2022, Swiss prices rose 0.7%. Compared to the same month in 2021, prices were 2.2% higher, making this the highest price increase in two decades.

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Prices of dairy products set to rise in Switzerland

Dairy prices are rising globally. Higher global prices are expected to trigger price rises in Switzerland as local dairy farmers follow the global trend, reported 20 Minutes.

© Erix2005 | Dreamstime.comSince the beginning of the year, the price of a tonne of dried milk has risen by around 16% to US$ 4,503, according to the website Global Dairy Trade. Contracts dated March 2022 are priced slightly higher at US$ 4,510. Between 4 January and 15 February 2022, prices rose 16% from US$ 3,866 to US$ 4,503. Five years ago the price was US$ 2,782, 38% lower than it is today.

In Switzerland, the price of milk is going to rise, Pierre-André Pittet, a spokesperson for PSL, an association of milk producers, told 20 Minutes. Swiss milk producers could probably demand around 3 cents more per kilo

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Swiss employment reaches new record

Data published this week by Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) show that the number of active workers in Switzerland rose to a record 5.239 million by the end of 2021.

Photo by Lex Photography on Pexels.comThe number of people employed at the end of 2021 was 1.9% higher than at the end of 2020. 5.239 million represents around 73% of those 15 or older.

Sharp rise in hotel and restaurant jobs

The number of people actively working in hotel and restaurant jobs rose 8,700 (+3.8%). Worker numbers were also up in business services (+5.1%), manufacturing (+0.7%) and construction (+1.0%).

Job growth across all cantons

Job numbers rose across all of Switzerland with sharp rises in the secondary and tertiary areas in the Lake Geneva region (+2.6%), Zurich (+2.9%) and

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Price of wood pellets rises sharply in Switzerland

The price of wood pellets in Switzerland is up 20% over the last 12 months, according to Patrick Schmutz, a wood pellet expert, reports RTS. According toSchmutz, the price rise is due to a cold 12 months, especially last spring, and the success of wood pellet heating. More and more pellet-based heating systems are being installed in Switzerland.

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Swiss franc highest against Euro since July 2015

On 19 November 2021, the Euro went below 1.05 Swiss francs, the lowest it has been since July 2015. The Swiss franc is viewed as a safe haven currency and tends to rise when markets are bearish. However, this week the shift in exchange rate may have had more to do with the situation in Euro zone than a shift to safety.

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Geo-blocking set to be banned in Switzerland

Geo-blocking is the practice of pushing online shoppers to a version of a website based on their geographic location. Many consumers would like to see the practice made illegal and Swiss laws look set to make it so, according to the NZZ am Sonntag, reported Le Matin.

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Vote to increase Swiss retirement age clears signature hurdle

The youth chapter of the PLR (FDP) has successfully collected enough signatures for an initiative to raise the official retirement age in Switzerland to 66 years old, reported RTS. On 16 July 2021, initiative organisers submitted 145,000 voter signatures as part of the formal process of launching a referendum in Switzerland.

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How the Swiss Government gets Paid to Borrow

Normally, those who borrow must pay out more money than they are lent in the form of interest and repayments. Currently, for the Swiss government it is the other way around. Lenders are paying the Swiss federal government to give it money.

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Swiss Unemployment back below 3% again

On 8 July 2021, the Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) published unemployment figures for June 2021. By the end of June 2021, there were close to 132,000 people registered as unemployed across Switzerland, 11,000 fewer than at the end of May 2021, bringing Switzerland’s overall unemployment rate down from 3.1% to 2.8%.

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Basel to become the fifth canton with a minimum wage

Over the weekend, a majority of voters in the canton of Basel-City voted in favour of a minimum wage of CHF 21 (US$ 23) an hour. The move will make Basel-City the first German-speaking Swiss canton to adopt a minimum wage, following in the footsteps of Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura and Ticino.

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Nearly two thirds of Swiss support EU framework agreement, suggests poll

Switzerland and the EU have been working at failing to agree on a new agreement on Switzerland’s relationship with the EU for sometime now. One point of negotiating leverage used by Switzerland is that Swiss voters would reject the deal proposed by the EU in a referendum. However, a recent poll suggests that might not be true.

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Real Swiss salaries up most in 5 years

On 30 April 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office released salary data for 2020 which showed a 1.5% rise in real salaries compared to 2019.

© Suwat Supachavinswad | Dreamstime.comIn 2020, a 0.8% rise in nominal salaries was boosted by inflation of -0.7% bringing the total increase in the real average Swiss salary to 1.5%. The last time salaries rose this much was in 2015 when the real increase was 1.5%.

In both 2015 and 2020 negative inflation of -1.1% and -0.7% significantly boosted nominal increases of +0.4% and +0.8%.

In 2020, the jump in salaries was not uniform across all sectors. In some areas the real salary increase in 2020 was as high as 3.4% (information technology). At the other end, average real salaries in insurance sank by 1.4%. Other sectors with above

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Swiss Inflation turns negative in 2020

Dmitri Maruta

During 2020, average annual inflation was –0.7%, according to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO). In December 2020, Switzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) fell by 0.1% compared with November 2020. Compared to December 2019, prices in December 2020 were 0.8% lower. Annual inflation reached -0.7% across the full year.

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Referendum: Swiss to vote on ending EU agreement

On 27 September 2020, Swiss voters have many decisions to make. This time the list of votes includes decisions on fighter jets, hunting, tax deductions for child care and paternity leave. Probably the most important among them is a decision on whether to accept a proposal to end the EU agreement on the free movement of people between Switzerland and the bloc, known as the Limitation Initiative.

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Unemployment up in second quarter of 2020 in Switzerland

Unemployment in Switzerland

Switzerland’s unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 4.6% in the second quarter of 2020, according to a recent survey that measures unemployment more broadly than Switzerland’s official unemployment measure. The method used for these calculations is the one defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which includes all available job seekers – ILO definition of unemployment.

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Swiss government forecasts 2021 deficit but no tax hikes

The coronavirus is set to knock a CHF 1 billion hole in Switzerland’s federal budget for 2021, according to a press release. Without the virus the budget was CHF 2.2 billion in the black. Post virus the budget is now CHF 1 billion in the red. The virus is expected to add CHF 2.0 billion to next years spending. The extra money is earmarked for SARS-CoV-2 tests, business loan guarantees and support to the sports sector.

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Coronavirus: Switzerland plans to lift all restrictions on Schengen movement

Switzerland’s Federal Council plans to lift all travel restrictions and re-establish free movement of persons across the Schengen area no later than 6 July 2020 and possibly as early as mid June, it announced today. If the epidemiological evolution allows, restrictions on entering, working and living in Switzerland will be lifted for all Schengen states from mid-June and no later than 6 July, said the government.

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Swisscom network experiencing problems

Since 11:50 am on 26 May 2020, Swisscom’s mobile and landline networks have been experiencing problems. Landline and mobile network calls are currently impaired for business and private customers, according to Swisscom.

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EasyJet customer data hacked

Yesterday, EasyJet announced that a “highly sophisticated” cyber-attack had affected around 9 million customers. The company said its “investigation found that the email address and travel details of approximately 9 million customers were accessed. These affected customers will be contacted in the next few days. If you are not contacted then your information has not been accessed.”  

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Coronavirus: anti-lockdown protests in Switzerland

Over the weekend, hundreds rallied against lockdown measures across Switzerland in the cities of Bern, Zurich, Basel and St. Gallen. Anti-lockdown protesters in these cities flouted rules introduced in mid-March banning public groups of more than five people, designed to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The protestors consider the rules in breach of their fundamental rights.

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Coronavirus: new rules for Switzerland’s restaurants

Restaurants in Switzerland will be able to reopen on Monday 11 May 2020. But they’ll need to follow strict rules that were published this week. The seven pages of detailed restaurant rules will make dining in the time of Covid-19 quite different to what we’re accustomed to.

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Swiss GDP set for worst fall in decades

A team of economic experts working for the Swiss government forecasts a 6.7% fall in GDP and unemployment to rise to 3.9% in Switzerland in 2020. If these predictions prove right, it will be the biggest slump in economic activity since 1975.

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Coronavirus: Switzerland extends lockdown until 26 April

On 8 April 2020, Switzerland’s government decided to extend the country’s lockdown measures for a further week. In a press release the Federal Council said the measures would be extended for another week and then possibly progressively loosened before the end of April.

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Close to one fifth of households in Switzerland behind on debt payments

In 2017, 18.9% of Switzerland’s population lived in a household with outstanding debt repayments, a percentage that has rose from 17.7% over the proceeding 4 years. The most common forms of outstanding debts were taxes, health insurance premiums and phone bills. 9.9% of households had outstanding tax payments, 7.3% owed health insurance money and 5.2% had an outstanding telecommunications bill.

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Swiss Post stops accepting parcels and letters to China

Swiss Post has said it will no longer accept packages addressed to China, according to Tribune de Genève. Because of the covid-19 virus, airlines have stopped or drastically reduced flights to China. This fall in air traffic has reduced postal service capacity to China by two thirds.

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Swiss environmental agency sets no date for 5G launch

Earlier this week, Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) announced it had contacted the cantons at the end of January 2020, informing them it had not set a date for switching on 5G networks. However, mobile networks plan to continue installing 5G equipment after rolling out more than 2,000 antenna last year – a map showing where the new antenna are can be viewed here.

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Switzerland most expensive country in 2020

It will come as little surprise to many that Switzerland has been ranked the world’s most expensive country. Put together by the magazine CEO World, the ranking pulls cost of living data on accommodation, clothing, taxi fares, utilities, internet, groceries, transport, and dining out, from a number of other studies.

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Philip Morris International to axe jobs in Switzerland

The tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) has unveiled plans to cut jobs at its sites in Lausanne and Neuchâtel. A total of around 265 jobs are likely to go. Most of them will be transferred to the UK, Portugal and Poland. The company has opened formal processes in both cantons and those affected will be informed between now and the end of March 2020, it said.

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Credit Suisse accused of spying on Greenpeace

According to SonntagsZeitung, the bank Credit Suisse has been spying on Greenpeace. Nearly three years ago, the environmental organisation thwarted security and disrupted the bank’s general assembly with a stunt aimed at shaming Credit Suisse for financing Energy Transfer, a company involved in the construction of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline running through reserves in the US state of Dakota.

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Trump should be disinvited to Davos, says St. Gallen University economist

Speaking to CNN Money, Markus Will, a senior economist at St. Gallen University, described Trump’s speech, in which he didn’t mention climate once, as a “contradiction to the values of Davos.” “It was a nationalistic, domestic, state of the union address from Davos rather than an improving of the state of the world speech which you should do in Davos”, he said, before adding, “you should disinvite him cordially for next year.

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Running a Swiss business – changes in 2020

Every year brings changes for business owners and managers. In May 2019, a majority of Swiss voters accepted a package of changes to the way companies are taxed known as The Federal Act on Tax Reform and AHV Financing (TRAF). Many of the changes flowing from this begin on 1 January 2020.

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Swiss foreign work permit quotas maintained for 2020

Every year, Switzerland sets quotas for the number of work visas it issues to citizens outside the EU and EFTA. This week the government announced it would maintain the quota of 8,500 permits that was in place in 2018. In addition, it confirmed an earlier deal it struck with the UK to issue up to 3,500 work visas to British citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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More than 100 members of Extinction Rebellion convicted in Switzerland

In September 2019, groups of people belonging to the group Extinction Rebellion blocked two road bridges in Lausanne. Local police cleared the bridges by removing, in some cases carrying, protesters away. On 7 November 2019, 117 of the people involved in the bridge protests were convicted and fined for breaking Switzerland’s penal code, according to RTS.

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Geneva to ban Uber if it doesn’t change its operating model

After a legal analyis the government of the canton of Geneva has decided that drivers of the ride hailing service are employees rather than independent contractors, effectively banning Uber from operating under its current model. In an interview with RTS, Mauro Poggia, a lawyer and Geneva state councillor, said that Uber is a transport company and as such must employ its drivers.

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Negative rates might go lower, says Swiss National Bank chairman

Thomas Jordan, chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper recently that central bank interest rates might need to go further into negative territory. Responding to growing criticism of negative central bank interest rates, Jordan said negative interest rates could continue and a further reduction is possible.

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Minimum Swiss internet speed to triple in 2020

The Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, has confirmed a decision made by parliament to raise the minimum speed of broadband internet connections in Switzerland. From 1 January 2020, the minimum download speed specified in Switzerland’s universal service agreement with Swisscom will rise from 3 to 10 megabits per second (Mbits/s) and the minimum upload speed will rise from 0.3 to 1 Mbit/s.

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Swiss commission supports new laws to protect whistleblowers

A commission of the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, is in favour of new rules to protect whistleblowers. The proposed rules, which would help to protect those who expose secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal or unethical, were supported by 6 commission votes to 2 with 4 abstentions.

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Zurich homes market in highly overvalued territory, says UBS

Every quarter UBS, a bank, publishes its real estate bubble index, a report that covers real estate prices in 24 cities around the world. In the third quarter of 2019, Munich was listed as the most overvalued housing market in the world. Bubble risk was highest in Munich, Toronto, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. Frankfurt, Vancouver and Paris.

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Why Switzerland ranks near the top of the 2019 global competitiveness ranking

Switzerland made the the top 5, after dropping from 4th to 5th, in this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. Switzerland’s decline was largely due to a down weighting of a factor where it is strong, according to WEF’s Saadia Zahidi. The Global Competitive Index measures performance in 114 areas that influence a nation’s productivity.

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EU removes Switzerland from tax haven list

In December 2017, the European Union (EU) set up a blacklist and a grey list of tax havens, countries it deemed were being used to help companies and wealthy individuals reduce their tax bills. Switzerland ended up on the grey list. Nations on these lists faced reputational damage and stricter controls on financial transactions with the EU.

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Switzerland faces looming shortage of workers

As more baby-boomers – born from 1946 to 1964 – retire, Switzerland will faces a shortage of workers, according to Credit Suisse, a bank. Economists at the bank estimate that 1.1 million people in Switzerland will retire over the next 10 years, a figure which includes nearly 800,000 people currently working.

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The remarkable rise of GDP per capita in Switzerland

In 1998, GDP per person in Switzerland was CHF 59,693. Recently published statistics put the figure at CHF 80,986 in 2018, a rise of 36%. When Swiss GDP per capita is expressed in globally comparable US dollar terms its rise is even greater. In US dollar terms Swiss GDP per capita grew from US$ 41,497 to US$ 82,839 between 1998 and 2018, a rise of 100%.

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Swiss Research Leads to Cancer Break Through

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute recently deciphered the structure of the CC chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7), a signaling protein. Cancer cells use CCR7 to guide themselves into the lymphatic system, spreading cancer throughout the body. The resulting secondary tumors, called metastases, are responsible for most cancer deaths.

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Switzerland has highest underemployment in Europe

In 2018, 830,000 people in Switzerland were unable to find the work they wanted, according the Federal Statistical Office. While 243,000 were looking but not immediately available and 231,000 were unemployed, most (356,000) were underemployed – working but unable to find as many hours of work as they’d like.

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Swiss apprenticeships – too many places, not enough takers

Figures on unfilled apprenticeship places show the difficulty of matching supply and demand in the labour market. This year there were 12,000 unfilled apprenticeship positions in Switzerland. Switzerland’s apprenticeship model, which helps match workers’ skills with employer demand, is one driver of Switzerland’s low unemployment (4.9%) – 2018 ILO basis.

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UBS warns of a looming shortage of workers in Switzerland

The Swiss bank UBS estimates there could be a shortfall of 500,000 workers in Switzerland in the coming 10 years as the baby boomer generation retires. However, the bank predicts the shortfall will not be even across all industries. Some sectors are expected to stagnate. Workers in these industries might find it harder to find work.

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Switzerland’s upper house wants incentives for people who work beyond 65

The gap between Switzerland’s official retirement age – 65 for men and 64 for women – and average life expectancy is long. Life expectancy at 65 is 20 years for men (85) and 23 for women (88). More and more people are questioning the viability of living for two decades or more without working, particularly when the population is aging and the pension system is crumbling.

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Swiss-EU friction rises in lead up to expiry of stock market equivalence

In 2018, Switzerland and the EU struck a deal to extend Swiss stock market equivalence until 30 June 2019, a date fast approaching. Stock market equivalence makes a trade on the Swiss stock exchange equivalent to a trade on an exchange in an EU country. This allows trades to be pooled across countries, something that supports global trade and improves international market liquidity, a win-win for all traders.

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Swiss restaurant ranked best in the world

A ranking by Elite Traveler placed the restaurant Hôtel de Ville de Crissier first in a list of the world’s 100 best restaurants, eight places higher than last year. The ranking is based on the votes of readers of the magazine, which is distributed to private jet companies around the world.

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Switzerland has best winter for 11 years

The Swiss Hotel Association recorded a 0.7% increase in overnight stays during the 2018/2019 winter season. From November to April, 16.7 million overnight stays were recorded in Switzerland, 8.8 million by foreign visitors and 7.9 million by Swiss travelers.

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Swiss government decides not to act on roaming charges

The National Council, Switzerland’s parliament, rejected a motion to force Swiss mobile phone operators to remove EU roaming charges. 99 voted against, 78 for and 14 abstained, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes. In 2017, the European Union (EU) forced EU operators to stop charging their customers extra for calls made outside their home country but within the EU.

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Switzerland world’s 4th most competitive nation, according to business school ranking

Every year, Lausanne-based IMD business school publishes its global competitiveness ranking. Switzerland climbed from 5th last year to 4th behind Singapore, Hong Kong and the US. Venezuela (63rd) was last. The ranking, established in 1989, incorporates 235 indicators and takes into account a wide range of “hard” statistics such as unemployment, GDP and government spending on health and education, as well as “soft” data from an survey of business leaders covering topics such as social cohesion, globalization and corruption.

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Swiss workers open to the idea of raising retirement age

Employees Switzerland, an organisation representing Swiss workers, is resigned to the idea of raising the retirement age, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS. Speaking to the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Stefan Studer, director of the association, said raising the retirement age is inevitable because of the financial difficulties facing Switzerland’s state pension system, known as the first pillar.

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Protests against 5G mobile continue in Switzerland

Last week, a crowd assembled in Bern outside Switzerland’s federal parliament building to protest the roll out of 5G mobile technology in Switzerland. Switzerland’s “Stop 5G” movement is demanding a halt to further roll out of the technology in Switzerland, a process already well underway. They are demanding a precautionary approach and further research into the health effects.

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The price of some Swiss trains passes could rise significantly

Some travelers on Swiss trains could be in for a shock. The price of a GA travel card, an annual pass that allows unlimited travel of the Swiss Rail network, might rise 10% in 2021, according to the newspaper Le Matin. Compared to the price of other passes and tickets, the AG pass is relatively good value, according to a leaked internal document written by CH-direct, a pricing association bringing together 250 Swiss public transport companies.

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Geneva blocks the erection of 5G mobile antennas

Last week, Antonio Hodgers, the head of Geneva’s executive, announced a ban on the erection of further 5G mobile antennas in the canton, according to an interview on RTS. Motivated by uncertainty on the potential health effects of the new technology, the temporary freeze is the most the cantonal government can do to stop the rollout of the technology.

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Switzerland slides one place in 2019 press freedom ranking

In 2019, Switzerland lost one place slipping from 5th to 6th place out of 180, according to the latest world ranking of press freedom by the organisation Reporters Without Borders. The change was largely driven by the stronger performance of Denmark, which moved up into 5th place.

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Switzerland’s workforce participation – Swiss versus foreigners

In 2018, 68.5% of the nation’s residents aged 15 or older was working, 1.5% more than in 2010. This rise was largely driven by an increase in the percentage of women in the workforce. In 2010, 60.0% were working. By 2018, 62.9% were, a rise of 2.9%. On the other hand, the overall percentage of men working declined slightly (-0.1%) to reach 74.2% by 2018.

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Swisscom switches on its 5G mobile network

This week, Swisscom became the first Swiss mobile phone company to switch on its 5G network, according to a press release. Swisscom spokesperson, Esther Hüsler, said that at midnight on Wednesday Swisscom flipped the switch to become the first Swiss operator to put its 5G network into service. It’s 5G network went live across 102 locations across the country, including most of Switzerland’s cities.

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Swiss unemployment above northern european average

Switzerland is often assumed to have low unemployment. However, there are many countries in Europe with lower rates. There are several ways to measure unemployment. The official measure in Switzerland is focused on those officially registered as unemployed still collecting unemployment benefits, a measure that delivers a lower figure than the one calculated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

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Million franc salaries cause friction in Bern

Switzerland’s government recently voted for a ceiling on the salaries of those managing public companies such as Swisscom, Swiss Post, Skyguide and Swiss Rail. In response, the board of Swiss Rail wrote to the Federal Council requesting it to soften its position. From 2020, the company wants to pay its nine senior managers CHF 5.89 million, including a salary of more than CHF 1 million to Andreas Meyer, the boss of the company.

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Swiss Rail shares bumper profits with passengers

In 2018, Swiss Rail made a profit of CHF 568 million, 42.5% more than in 2017. Part of the rise was due to higher than average spending on maintenance in 2017. It is worth noting that Swiss Rail receives a large sum from taxpayers every year. In 2018, the company received CHF 3.5 billion of public funding, CHF 2.7 billion of it booked as income.

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Swiss chocolate consumption slides

In 2018, Switzerland’s population consumed around 87,000 tonnes of chocolate. However, average chocolate consumption dropped from 10.5 kg per person in 2017 to 10.3 kg in 2018, a decline of roughly 2%. This decline reflects last year’s longer hotter summer, according to the industry association Chocosuisse.

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Three Swiss cities ranked in world’s top 10 most livable

Mercer’s 2019 livability ranking looks at 231 cities across the globe. Vienna comes top for the tenth year in a row, while Bagdad ranks last. Three Swiss cities are among the global top ten. Zurich is 2nd, Geneva 9th and Basel 10th. Bern, a fourth Swiss city, is not far behind in 14th place.

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Percentage of men in workforce declines in Switzerland

Finished work

Recently published figures show a 7% decline in the percentage of men in Switzerland’s workforce between 1991 and 2018. The workforce figures, which include the unemployed, show a fall in male workforce participation from 81% to 74%, a 7% decline over 27 years.

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Decathlon to expand in Switzerland

The low-cost French sports goods chain has plans to expand in Switzerland. 14 new stores, employing between 500 and 600 staff, are planned for 2019, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes. Many of the new stores will be refurbished Athleticum stores. Décathlon teamed up with Athleticum in 2018.

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Drug makers paid Swiss doctors 12.5 million francs in 2017

Since 2016, drug makers have voluntarily published the amounts they pay to Swiss doctors, who prescribe drugs to patients. In 2017 the sum was CHF 12.5 million, according to the association Science Industries. In 2016, the same figure was CHF 14 million. While drug makers publish the amounts paid, the information published does not always reveal the names of doctors receiving the money.

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Switzerland’s gender pay gap closes further

A recent survey by the Federal Statistical Office shows the overall median pay gap in Switzerland’s private sector shrunk to 12% in 2016, down from 12.5% in 2014 and 15.6% in 2010. In 2016, median pay for women was CHF 6,011 francs a month and median pay for men was CHF 6,830. The gap rose to 18.54% for the highest management positions.

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Swiss organic farm output doubles


Between 1999 and 2017 the amount of organic food produced on Swiss farms more than doubled. In 1999, 5.3% of Switzerland’s farm output was organic. By 2017 this figure had risen to 11.7%. In 1999, Swiss farms produced CHF 562 million worth of organic food. In 2017, they produced CHF 1.2 billion.

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Switzerland scores well on youth job market conditions but suffers from skills mismatch


A recent report places Switzerland second in a ranking of 33 european countries on conditions in the youth labour market in 2016 – youth are those between 15 and 24. Switzerland’s overall score of 5.67 out of 7.00 is close to Denmark’s 5.72. Switzerland’s highest scores are for employment rate (6.01) and working conditions (5.77), with education (5.36) and smoothness of transition to work (5.52) coming in lower.

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Lenders pay to lend money to Switzerland

On 28 December 2018, Italy issued government bonds maturing in 2028 at an effective interest rate of 2.7%1. Interest rates like this combined with the scale of Italian public debt (157% of GDP) mean Italian taxpayers spend more on public debt interest than they do on education. In 2015, Italy spent 4.1% of GDP on public debt interest and only 2.8% of GDP on education.

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Nestlé now Europe’s most valuable company

Volatile markets have been reshuffling the ranking of the world’s most valuable companies. Over the course of the last six months, Nestlé overtook Royal Dutch Shell to become Europe’s most valuable company. At the end of June 2018, Royal Dutch Shell had Europe’s highest market capitalisation (US$ 293 billion), making it the world’s 13th most valuable company, while Nestlé ranked 21st globally, with a market capitalisation of US$ 233 billion.

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Agism most frequent form of discrimination in Switzerland, according to survey


Growing old is something that happens to nearly all of us. However, according to a recent study close to one in three people (28%) reported age-related discrimination in Switzerland in 2017. The rate of age discrimination (28%) is higher than sexism (22%) and racism (12%), according to Christian Maggiori, a professor focused on social work interviewed by the newspaper La Liberté.

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Swiss government approves post-Brexit deal on treatment of UK and Swiss nationals

Today, The Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, announced it has approved a deal safeguarding the rights of Swiss and UK citizens after Brexit. The agreement is part of a package of deals being worked out as part of a plan dubbed “Mind the Gap”. Under the agreement, any UK citizen residing in Switzerland before Brexit will retain all of their existing rights for life.

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Switzerland could see vote on laws banning age discrimination

Heidi Joos, the managing director of the organisation Avenir 50 plus, and others, plan to launch a referendum aimed at introducing laws against age discrimination in Switzerland. Age discrimination in recruitment is common in Switzerland. Some job search websites allow filtering by age, and job adverts sometimes specify applicants be below a particular age.

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Swiss Supermarkets Selling Products with no Country of Origin on Label

For example, a piece of farmed salmon will typically be labelled only with its country of origin, containing no information on what the fish has been fed. Contaminated fish feed can significantly push up the level of dioxins found in the fish’s fat. Mad cows disease is another example of how animal feed contaminated food.

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Inflation outstrips Swiss salary increases

The latest figures show that Swiss salaries have not kept up with inflation. An average Swiss salary rose 0.4% in 2017, compared to inflation of 0.5%. This left the average salary earner 0.1% worse off in real terms over the year.

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Swiss gender pay gap compared to rest of Europe

A recently published study ranks Switzerland 10th on gender pay gap. Switzerland’s gap of 17% is bigger than Italy’s (5.3%), Luxembourg’s (5.5%), Belgium’s (6.1%), Sweden’s (13.3%), Spain’s (14.2%), Denmark’s (15%), France’s (15.2%) or the Netherlands’ (15.6%), but lower than Finland’s (17.4%), Portugal’s (17.5%), Austria’s (20.1%), the UK’s (21%) or Germany’s (21.5%).

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Minimum return on Swiss pensions unchanged

A government commission looking at the rate, called for a reduction to 0.75%, while unions demanded a rise to 1.25%. In the end the Federal Council decided to take the middle road and leave the rate at 1% for 2019. The rate is the minimum pension funds must apply to employment related 2nd pillar pension assets in 2019.

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Switzerland’s rising rate of farm suicide

The high and rising suicide rate among Switzerland’s male farmers stands in contrast to the declining rate among rural men working in other professions, according to a new study by the University of Bern published by the newspaper SonntagsZeitung. The rate among rural men working outside farming is 33 per 100,000, compared to 38 per 100,000 among farmers, a rate that has risen since 2003.

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Geneva Aims for a New Company Tax Rate of 13.79 percent


According to, Geneva’s Council of State, or executive, has put forward a proposed corporate tax rate of 13.79% as part of its tax reform project, work triggered by international pressure on Switzerland and its cantons to remove preferential tax treatment for certain international companies.

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Switzerland expecting a 2.5 billion franc federal surplus for 2018

The latest figures forecast Switzerland’s federal spending for 2018 will be CHF 0.9 billion less than expected. This and higher than expected receipts of CHF 1.3 billion add up to an extra CHF 2.2 billion on top of an original budget surplus of CHF 0.3 billion, bringing the total forecast federal surplus to CHF 2.5 billion.

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Self-Employment declining in Switzerland

Self Employed Switzerland

The percentage of Switzerland’s workers working for themselves has been slowly declining. In 2010, 13.7% of workers were self-employed. By 2017, the figure was 12.8% – self-employed includes those working as independents and those working for companies they own.

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Swiss still World’s Richest


According to the annual wealth report produced by Credit Suisse, Switzerland leads on wealth per adult with US$ 530,240, comfortably ahead of second-placed Australia where the figure is US$ 411,060. The US is third with US$ 403,060.

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Swiss Rail plans to test free WiFi on trains

Swiss Rail announced on Thursday that it would test free WiFi, named FreeSurf, on certain routes next year with a plan to extend the offer to all major routes from 2020, according to RTS. Train passengers benefiting from the tests in 2019 will be those travelling on InterCity trains between Lausanne and St. Gallen, Geneva and Zurich, and Bienne and Basel.

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Swiss arms exports rose almost 18percent in 2018

Switzerland exported close to 18% more arms over the first nine months of 2018 than it did in the first nine months of 2017, according to figures published by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). According to the numbers, in the nine months to 30 September 2018, Swiss companies exported close to CHF 300 million of arms, nearly CHF 45 million or 17.6% more than over the same period in 2017.

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Some Swiss Rail ticket machines set to disappear

Ticket machines once replaced many of the people selling ticket from counters. Now the internet and mobile phones threatens ticket machines. As more and more people use dash past ticket machines with an electronic train ticket in their pocket, Swiss Rail is looking at phasing out some machines according to various newspapers including 20 Minutes.

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Swiss agricultural policy costs households 2,500 francs a year, according to study

Broadly, Switzerland’s agricultural sector costs the country CHF 19.9 billion while contributing only CHF 3.4 billion, concludes a study published by the think tank Avenir Suisse. The CHF 19.9 billion cost the report’s authors calculate is made up of tax breaks and direct federal and cantonal payments to the sector (4.9b), the cost of artificially inflated consumer prices due to import restrictions (4.6b), environmental damage (7.3b), and the indirect cost to export businesses (3.1b) from agricultural trade restrictions.

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New long-haul budget airline from Basel launches fundraising

The idea is simple. Keep costs low by flying point-to-point, thus avoiding costly hubs, use one model of aircraft to contain pilot and aircraft maintenance costs, and charge passengers for everything from coffee to checked-in luggage. Southwest Airlines was first to launch the model and copycats like EasyJet followed.

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Swiss Job Numbers Up but too Few Qualified Workers


In the second quarter of 2018, the number of jobs in Switzerland rose to 5.048 million, a 2.1% increase on the second quarter of 2017. Regions rising the most were Lake Geneva (+3.0%), north west Switzerland (+3.0%), central Switzerland (+2.4%) and Zurich (+2.1%). Rises in job numbers in eastern Switzerland (+1.6%), Mittelland (+1.3%) and Ticino (0%) were lower.

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Economiesuisse warns of economic dangers of vote against foreign judges

The business and industry association Economiesuisse says the up-coming vote on 25 November 2018 on self-determination puts the Swiss economy at risk. The Swiss People’s Party led initiative entitled: Federal law instead of foreign judges, aims to cement the primacy of Swiss law over international law by adding a clause to Switzerland’s constitution.

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Switzerland’s special tax deals less attractive from 2021

Foreigners who don’t work in Switzerland can benefit from special tax deals known as lump sum taxation, or for fait fiscal in French. Instead of paying tax on their worldwide income and assets their tax is calculated based on their living expenses. When someone becomes Swiss they automatically lose eligibility.

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The large tax differences between Swiss cantons

In Switzerland, tax is largely determined by the canton of residence. The range of tax rates is wide. In 2017, a single person earning CHF 100,000 paid only CHF 7,592 in the canton of Zug but CHF 19,233 in the canton of Neuchâtel, more than 2.5 times as much. Someone married with children earning the same amount paid CHF 920 in Zug and CHF 9,249 in Neuchâtel, more than 10 times as much.

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EU migration into Switzerland down significantly in 2017

Net migration into Switzerland from the EU was down by 11% last year, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). In 2017, a net 31,250 people from the EU and EFTA moved to Switzerland. And, with a 4% decline in the number arriving over the five months to May 2018, the fall looks set to continue.

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Swiss Town Tests Blockchain-Based Voting

On 25 June 2018, the city of Zug, the town at the heart of Switzerland’s crypto valley, started testing a voting system based on blockchain technology. During the trial, which runs until 1 July 2018, around 200 voters will cast non-binding municipal votes on mock questions in a trial designed to identify any bugs in a system built by the company Luxsoft and the computer science department of Lucerne’s University of Applied Sciences.

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Geneva set to vote on world’s highest minimum wage

In May 2014, Switzerland voted against a minimum wage of CHF 22 an hour. At some point voters in the canton of Geneva will get to vote on a similar initiative, which would apply only in the canton. Similar to the federal vote, which was rejected by 76.3% of Swiss voters, the plan calls for a minimum hourly wage of CHF 23 ($US 23.40). Based on a 40-hour week, this works out at around CHF 4,000 per month.

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EU Unemployment Rule change could cost Switzerland dearly

Currently, across EU and EFTA countries, unemployment benefits are paid by the country of residence. Last week, the EU announced plans to make the country of employment pay unemployment benefits instead. This change could be costly for Swiss cantons with large numbers of cross-border workers, workers who live in the EU but work in Switzerland.

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Nearly 1 in 20 in Switzerland are millionaires, according wealth to report

The 2017, a wealth report, published by Capgemini, shows there were 389,000 US$ millionaires in Switzerland, around 4.5% of the population, or close to 1 in 20. If children under the age of 15 are excluded, Switzerland’s millionaire percentage rises to 7.3%. In addition, these figures include only investable wealth, which does not include the value of family homes.

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Swiss Unemployment Continues to Fall


The number of registered unemployed in Switzerland dropped by 9% in May 2018 to a rate of 2.4%, down from 2.7% in April, according to a report by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The rate in May 2018 was 22% lower than in May 2017.

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Nestlé plans to move 580 jobs out of Switzerland

Last week, Nestlé announced plans to cut its Swiss workforce by 580. The plans involve restructuring its IT department, with a focus on extending its technology hub in Spain. Over the next 18 months, this re-organization could lead to a reduction of up to 500 IT positions in Switzerland, said the company. A source close to Nestlé told Le News that around two thirds of the cuts will occur in Vevey and the remaining third in Lausanne and at the company’s data centre in Bussigny.

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Pay in Zurich and Geneva highest in the world

Days of pay to buy an iPhone X

A survey of the cost of living in 77 cities, by UBS, ranks Zurich (1st) and Geneva (2nd) as the most expensive. But while these cities are the most expensive, their workers are also the highest paid. In Zurich, less than five days pay affords an iPhone X. In Geneva, the same device requires less than six days of labour.

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Switzerland second hardest working nation in Europe

Recent statistics show that the average full-time employee in Switzerland worked 42.6 hours a week. This is slightly less than an average Icelander (42.9) – the longest working – but 13% longer than the average in leisurely France (37.4), the european nation putting in the fewest hours.

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High Swiss Drug Prices – Campaign Presents a Solution to Swiss government


This week, the Swiss NGO Public Eye, launched a campaign for more affordable medicine in Switzerland under the slogan: protect patients, not patents. The NGO says high prices, of cancer drugs in particular, is not only an issue affecting developing nations but wealthy ones too. It says that cancer treatments in Switzerland often cost over CHF 100,000 a year.

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Switzerland Drops in Economic Competitiveness Ranking


While Switzerland remains in the top five with the same other four countries in this year’s IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, it slipped from second to fifth place. The United States rose from fourth to first, second and third places went to Hong Kong and Singapore, and fourth place to the Netherlands.

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Median Swiss salary rises

Swiss salaries have risen according to a recently published report by Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office. The median gross monthly salary was CHF 6,5021 in 2016, CHF 313 higher than in 2014. 50% of Swiss workers earned more than this and 50% earned less.

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Late trains – Switzerland’s delay hotspots

Train Delays

The cliché of Swiss trains always being on time is challenged by data published on the website Analysis of this data by 20 Minuten, shows the most frequently delayed trains arrive from Italy. Mendrisio, near the Italian border in the canton of Ticino, was the worst performing station with 30% of trains delayed by 3 minutes or more. Italian delays also affect Swiss trains from Domodossola and Brig.

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Is Swiss inflation back to stay?

Swiss inflation

Swiss inflation reappeared in February 2018 and has continued. According to the Federal Statistical Office, inflation was 0.2% in April. Since the beginning of 2018, prices have risen 0.9%. Jan-Egbert Sturm of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute says it shows the Swiss economy is doing well, and that inflation is close to what is “normal” in Switzerland.

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Basel airport – night time take-offs to be cut in half

Basel Airport

For those who fly regularly, living close to an airport might be convenient, but it’s also noisy. To reduce noise, Basel-Mulhouse airport has decided to reduce the number of flights taking off between 11pm and midnight by half, according to a press release. Unlike Geneva airport, which is located entirely on Swiss soil but still operates a French side, Basel-Mulhouse, Switzerland’s third major airport is on French territory, but run by the Swiss.

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Swiss unemployment at lowest in 3.5 years

Unemployment Switzerland

Swiss unemployment is at its lowest for 3.5 years, according to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The last time Swiss unemployment reached March 2018’s level was in October 2014. After reaching a peak of 3.7% in January 2017, the rate had fallen to 2.9% by March 2018. Unemployment has some seasonality however the rate for last March (2.9%) is low even when compared to March 2016 (3.5%) and March 2017 (3.4%).

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Europe’s most expensive hotels in Geneva, Paris and Zurich

Tacettin Ulas

Across the road from Lake Geneva, sits Geneva’s and the world’s most expensive hotel suite. The Hotel President Wilson’s Royal Penthouse Suite is reported to cost $83,500 per night – the price is not listed on the hotel’s website but costs this much according to CNN. For most of those planning to visit Geneva, this price is, thankfully, an outlier.

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“Swissleaks” author arrested in Spain at Switzerland’s request

Hervé Falciani

According to Tribune de Genève, Hervé Falciani was arrested in Madrid last week at Switzerland’s request. In 2008, Falciani a French-Italian who grew up in Monaco, took confidential information from the Geneva offices of HSBC, his employer, and fled to Lebanon where some claim he attempted to sell it. Later he shared the information with authorities in France and sought refuge there in 2009.

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The Swiss National Bank owns more A-class Facebook shares than Zuckerberg


At the end of March 2018, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), held 8.93 million A class shares compared to Mark Zuckerberg’s holding of 8.91 million, according to the newspaper Handelszeitung. However, most of Zuckerberg’s shares are B class shares, a class of shares which is not quoted and give the founder control of the business. Zuckerberg holds 393.9 million of these.

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Maker of the Sniper’s Choice, makes the news – but what is the Swiss company RUAG?


The Swiss company RUAG made the news last week when investigators were called in to look at information relating to the sale of ammunition. But what is this company? According to RTS, the investigation revealed contracts for the sale of ammunition to Russia that had not been properly declared, RUAG triggered the investigation itself when a whistle blower reported irregularities and has filed a criminal complaint.

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Swiss voters could get to decide on Switzerland’s Winter Olympics bid

In October 2017, when Switzerland’s Federal Council announced the government would stand behind Sion’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, it sparked a backlash. A survey run by Tamedia in February 2018 suggests 59% of the Swiss public are against the bid, according to RTS. The estimated cost to Swiss taxpayers is close to CHF 1 billion. Other costs, to be borne by the host canton Valais and other cantons, are expected on top of this federal government contribution.

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Geneva wants to limit Airbnb rentals to 60 days a year


The canton wants the platform to place limits on its use to put the brakes on commercial operators. The 60 day limit was set by Geneva’s State Council. Antonio Hodgers, State councillor in charge of housing told Tribune de Genève that renting on the platform had become a real business for some and that this needs to be controlled.

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How hot politics in the Balkans slowed the clock on your oven

Oven Clock

Switzerland’s power grid is part of a large pool of ebbing and flowing electricity spanning 25 countries, known as the Continental European (EC) power grid. Enough electricity must be fed into it to keep it at a stable frequency. The EC’s magic number is 50 Hz. Maintaining this requires a carefully coordinated trans-national balancing act. When electricity consumption rises, power stations across the network must work harder.

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Geneva to Zurich for half the price of a Swiss train

Domo Bus

Switzerland’s transport authority (OFT) recently gave Domo Swiss Express SA, a Zurich-based bus company, a green light to run three routes across Switzerland. The first will run from Zurich to Lugano, via Basel and Luzern, the second from St. Gallen to Geneva airport, via Zurich and Bienne, and the third from Chur to Sion, via Zurich and Bern. Services are expected to run twice daily.

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Coop boycotts 150 Nestlé products over price disagreement

Coop Hauptsitz

According to Swiss broadcaster RTS, Swiss retailer Coop, along with five other members of AgeCore SA, a Geneva-based purchasing alliance, have decided to boycott a large number of Nestlé products in the hope of striking a better deal on price. Sales to AgeCore SA members, which include Coop in Switzerland, Intermarché in France, Edeka in Germany, Conad in Italy, Colruyt in Belgium and Eroski in Spain, represents around 10% of Nestlé’s sales in Europe and 2% of its global turnover, according to Züricher Kantonalbank.

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Swiss franc could hit 1.22 by year end, according to economists

According to Le Matin, economists at Swiss Life think the rise of the Swiss franc could be over and predict it will weaken to 1.22 to the euro by the end of the year. At the same time they point to risks that could send the currency in the opposite direction, such as the election in Italy, Brexit negotiations and uncertainty surrounding government in Germany.

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The number of people on welfare continues to rise in Switzerland


In 2016, around 273,000 people, 3.3% of the population, received welfare in Switzerland. The number (not the rate) was 2.9% higher than the year before and 15.7% higher than 5 years earlier when the rate was 3.0%. Rates of those receiving government aid varied significantly by canton, ranging from 0.8% in Appenzell Innerrhoden to 7.4% in Neuchâtel.

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Switzerland’s “harmful tax regime” gets it on EU grey list

This week EU Finance ministers came out with a list of countries it thinks don’t measure up to its definition of good tax behaviour. There are two categories: blacklist and so-called “grey list”. Black is bad and grey is heading toward good, but not yet there. Switzerland is on the “grey list”.

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Switzerland’s 1.3 billion franc payment to EU proves divisive

EU Switzerland

Switzerland’s deal with the EU involves a financial contribution. The sum announced by the Federal Council is CHF 1.3 billion over the next 10 years.The arrangement, announced on Thursday to coincide with a visit by european commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, extends a previous 10 year deal.

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Stress rises among Swiss workers

Luis Pablo Escoto Hernandez

A recent report by Travail.Suisse shows around 40% of Swiss workers report feeling often or very often stressed by their work.Stress and emotional exhaustion is a daily reality for many says Travail.Suisse. Between 2015 and 2017, the percentage suffering work related stress or emotional exhaustion has risen from 38% to 48%.

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Switzerland moves closer to female board quotas


This week, Switzerland moved closer to requiring minimum percentages of women on company boards and management teams. A parliamentary commission came out in support of the Federal Council’s plan to require greater gender balance in the boardrooms of Switzerland’s large listed companies.

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One billion franc Swiss winter Olympic bid sparks backlash


On Wednesday, Switzerland’s Federal Council said it would stand behind the country’s winter Olympic bid to the tune of nearly one billion francs, according to newspaper 20 Minutes. The town of Sion, in Valais, is throwing its Olympic hat into the ring as the centerpiece for the 2026 winter games. Other cantons would also host certain events. In autumn 2019, a choice will be made between Sion, and other possible contenders, including Innsbruck (Austria), Calgary (Canada), Sapporo (Japan), Erzurum (Turkey), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Stockholm (Sweden) and Salt Lake City (US).

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Swiss mobile roaming charges – a glimmer of hope

Switzerland’s federal council, the country’s seven-person executive or cabinet, has come up with a plan to cut those exorbitant mobile roaming phone bills that many of us return home to after trips abroad, an experience which hurts even more now roaming charges have been eliminated for EU residents.

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The number of Swiss brewers continues to rise despite declining beer consumption


A recent report shows a 2% drop in average Swiss beer consumption in 2016. Over the last 20 years it has dropped 4% to 54.9 litres per person. On its own this would be no cause for alarm, however in 2016, the number of breweries in Switzerland rose by 21% to 753. Since 2011, the number is up 118% from 345. The website lists 794 breweries in Switzerland so it is possible that the number has grown further since government statistics were compiled.

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Swiss retailers called on to remove palm oil from their products


Two Swiss NGOs have started a petition calling for Swiss retailers to reduce or remove palm oil from their products. Present in many processed foods, cosmetics and detergents, the ingredient has a bad reputation. The NGOs Bread for All and the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund want to see a reduction in palm oil consumption. They believe voluntary initiatives by the palm oil sector to clean up the industry have done nothing to address the real problems associated with its production and think buying and consuming less of it is the best answer.

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Swiss employee associations not opposed to a 60 hour week

Swiss employee associations are not opposed to a 60 hour week. Several parliamentary initiatives aim to loosen Swiss labour rules. The first aims to allow staff and employers more flexibility regarding hours worked and time off. The second aims to loosen rules on recording hours of work by managers and specialists. Another initiative aims to extend this to include employees with shareholdings in start-ups.

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Swiss gender pay gap only 2 percent, says study


The report says that while it is true that, as a group, women get paid less than men, it is not because they receive less for the same work. It is because they don’t get the highest-paying jobs in the highest-paid industries.

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Swiss Rail advert triggers accusation of sexism

According to various newspapers, Swiss Rail placed an advert on a job portal at ETH, a university in Zurich, offering work to cunning vixens, “schlaue Füchsinnen” in German. Successful applicants need to dress up as foxes, including fox tails, and run around train stations with posters informing travellers of alternative train connections.

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Swiss trust in news media in decline, says report

A recent report by the Reuters Institute shows a fall in trust in news media in Switzerland. They survey shows that only 46% trust news overall. This is down 4% compared to the year before. The report suggests this is an effect of the debate around ‘fake news’ resulting from the presidential election in the US, a subject that dominated Swiss media at the time.

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Swiss franc slides 4 percent in one week

On 24 July 2017, the Swiss franc was 1.101 to the euro. One week later on 31 July 2017 it was 1.145, according to Bloomberg. Over the month it dropped from 1.095 to 1.145, a drop Reuters described as the biggest monthly drop in six years. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has been working hard to bring down the value of the Swiss franc. Speaking to the newspaper Le Temps last week, SNB president Thomas Jordan described the currency as “significantly overvalued”.

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Swiss government to take aim at high Swiss prices

Switzerland’s Federal Council wants to introduce new measures to lower prices in Switzerland to curb cross-border shopping, something that it says hurts Swiss businesses. Minister for Economic Affairs, Johann Schneider-Ammann, said in an interview with the newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende that he’s working on a package of measures to tackle high retail prices in Switzerland.

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Over two thirds of Swiss would like to change jobs


A survey shows that 71% of those working in German-speaking Switzerland would change jobs if they could. Dream jobs vary significantly by gender. The survey, conducted by on behalf of XING Switzerland, questioned around 1,000 employees in German-speaking Switzerland between the ages of 18 and 65.

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Switzerland most expensive in Europe, but not for everything says new study

Few who have visited or lived in Switzerland will be particularly surprised to hear that Switzerland is the most expensive place in Europe. However the price differences are quite eye opening. The recently published Eurostat price level study ranks Switzerland as the most expensive overall, well ahead of second and third placed Iceland and Norway.

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Poverty in Switzerland has more to do with age than any other factor

A recent report classifies 570,000 people in Switzerland as poor. This number represents 7% of the population, and relates to 2015. In 2014, the same percentage was 6.6%. The report, which looks only at income, defines as poor a single person with income less than CHF 2,239 per month or a family of four with income below CHF 3,984 per month.

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Swiss authorities concerned about health impact of certain chemicals

A pilot bio-monitoring project in Switzerland will measure traces of pollutants and micronutrient and endocrine disruptors in organic samples. According to 20 Minutes, the impact of certain chemical products worries the authorities. The pilot project was launched last week by the executive branch of Switzerland’s government, known as the Federal Council.

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6 Swiss regions in Europe’s 10 most prosperous

Six Swiss regions make the top ten most prosperous regions of Europe measured in terms of GDP per person, according to an analysis by the University of Lausanne. The six Swiss regions are Zurich (3rd), Ticino (4th), Basel (5th), the region around Zug (6th), Bern-Solothurn (7th) and Suisse romande, Switzerland French-speaking region (8th).

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New 20 Swiss franc note officially launched


The Swiss National Bank is the process of issuing new bank notes. A new 50 franc note hit the streets last year. Now it is the new 20 franc note’s turn. Officially launched today, it will enter circulation on 17 May 2017.

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Easyjet expands in Geneva adding a new aircraft

Easyjet Tommy-Beattie

On Friday, Easyjet added a 14th aircraft to its Geneva-based fleet. The new Airbus A320 will allow it to add new destinations. The new aircraft will create 36 new jobs on top of the current 500 at the airline’s Geneva base, Thomas Haagensen, Easyjet’s director of northern Europe, told Le Matin Dimanche.

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Unemployment benefit scam rocks Vaud

Last week, the regional newspaper 24 Heures, uncovered a fraudulent scheme allegedly involving two workers from the union Unia, which may have cost Vaud’s social security system as much as CHF 3 million. The alleged fraud is centred on the construction industry, where bosses of small businesses along with two staff from the union Unia managed to deceive the canton’s unemployment fund.

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Thousands of cross-border workers risk big bills for health insurance

Thousands of cross-border workers working in the canton of Geneva, who have not yet formally sorted out their health insurance situation, risk getting a big bill. This week the canton made a final call to those living in France and working in Geneva to make a formal choice between the French and Swiss health systems, something which must be done before the final deadline on 30 September 2017.

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Euro gains against Swiss franc on French election result

The official French presidential election results place Emmanuel Macron (23.8%) and Marine Le Pen (21.5%) in first and second places in the first round of the French presidential race. The run off between these two will take place on 7 May 2017, when most forecasters expect Macron to win and become France’s next president.

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Swiss employers continue to discriminate against over 50s

Travail Suisse, an association representing Swiss employees, highlights once more the age discrimination faced by those over 50 in the Swiss job market. In March 2017, 26.8% of unemployed in the this age group had been without work for more than a year, compared to 2.3% of those between 15 and 24 and 14.1% of those aged 25 to 49.

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Close to a fifth of Swiss workers think corruption widespread, says survey

Mudretsov Oleksandr

A survey conducted by the advisory firm EY shows a rise in perceived corruption in the workplace in Switzerland. 18% of workers surveyed by the firm in Switzerland now think bribery and corruption are widespread in the country. While high this figure is well below the 33% average for Western Europe and the 51% average across all of the 41 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India that the survey covered.

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Swiss federal tribunal refuses to help French tax authorities

The French tax authorities will not get Swiss help to investigate tax payers identified in data taken by Hervé Falciani from HSBC private bank in Geneva. HSBC, owner of the private bank in Geneva, which became part of HSBC in 1999 when it was acquired from Republic National Bank, a group run by Lebanese-born financier Edmond Safra, described the data taken from the bank in 2008, as stolen, reported the BBC.

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Swiss chef wins world’s best restaurant award

A Swiss chef from Aargau came first in this year’s ranking of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Daniel Humm, co-owner of the restaurant Eleven Madison Park, comes from Strengelbach in Switzerland, and earned his first Michelin star at 24. In 2003, he moved to the United States to become a chef at Campton Place in San Francisco. Three years later, he moved to New York to Eleven Madison Park.

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Paris says no to sand from Swiss company that bid for Trump wall

The French-Swiss group, described as “disreputable” by the Ville de Paris, will not be supplying sand to the city of Paris this summer. Paris Plages (Beaches), a project that creates temporary beaches of sand along the banks of the river Seine every summer, said it would take no more sand from LafargeHolcim because of its willingness get involved in Donald Trumps’s disastrous Mexican wall project.

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The real reason Swiss drugs are so expensive


In Switzerland, a 16-pack of 500mg Dafalgan Odis (Paracetamol) costs CHF 8.60. A comparable French product, Doliprane, costs 1.12 euros for a box of 12 tablets the same size. 12 tablets of 500 mg of Algifor (Ibuprofen) costs CHF 9.90 compared to 2.50 euros for a similar box of Advil in France.

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Swiss Post to start delivering with drones this summer

Swiss Drone

Swiss post has said it will deliver the first packages by air this summer. The first deliveries will be made between two medical laboratories on the southern side of the Alps. Test flights were conducted in the canton of Bern last year. Now Swiss Post is ready to make commercial deliveries starting in Lugano.

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The Swiss Franc Hits its Lowest Since December


According to some experts, the weaker franc can be partly explained by the market activities of the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The cantonal bank of Thurgau said that the SNB appeared to be targeting a weaker franc ahead of the Dutch elections on Wednesday. Adding that they think an exchange rate of around 1.085 against the euro is possible.

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Vaud Discusses Extending Winter School Holiday to 2 Weeks

Villars Daniel-Barton

In Switzerland, this ski season has been disappointing, particularly if you have school aged children. During the Vaud school holiday this season, the fourth week of February, there was limited snow. Even at high resorts like Verbier, snow conditions were fairly average across the week. The week before there was good snow. But then everyone was still at school. A two-week school holiday in February would increase the chances of striking good snow.

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Low strength cannabis sales explode across Switzerland

According to an article in Tribune de Genève, some cigarette vendors are desperately searching for supplies of the drug to meet demand. Recently kiosques in Geneva started selling low strength cannabis like they sell cigarettes. Some kiosque owners are over the moon, while others desperately search for a supplier.

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Swiss score highest number of patents per capita. Again.

According to the European Patents Office (EPO), once again Switzerland topped the per capita patents ranking in 2016, with 892 applications per million inhabitants. Second and third places went to the Netherlands (405) and Sweden (360), followed by Denmark (334) and Finland (331). The first non-European country was Japan in ninth place (166), well above the EU average of 122.

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Switzerland ranked world’s worst currency manipulator

Currency Manipulation

The Economist magazine placed Switzerland first in a recent ranking of currency manipulators. According to the analysis, China, commonly thought of as the world’s champion at keeping its currency’s value artificially low, appears to be doing the opposite: actively trying to push the value of its currency up. On the other hand, Switzerland that has been working hardest to artificially devalue its money.

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Sender must now pay Swiss Post for customs checks

Currently, anyone ordering something from outside Switzerland, must pay Swiss Post an administrative charge if their package attracts import tax (duty and/or VAT). In addition, they must pay Swiss Post an additional CHF 13 if the parcel needs to be opened, usually because the package has been poorly labelled.

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Government stops tax rises on Swiss cigarettes


Swiss cigarette prices will not rise over the coming years unless manufacturers increase the underlying price. On Tuesday, Switzerland’s Council of States (upper house), withheld permission to allow the Federal Council (cabinet) to continue hiking the tax on smokes.

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Swiss Might Drop Daylight Savings

Daylight Saving World Subdivisions

Switzerland could drop daylight savings. Currently, Switzerland’s Federal Council sees no reason to abandon it, however if Switzerland’s neighbours did it would follow, mainly for economic reasons said the Federal council. National councilor Yvette Estermann (UDC/SVP), who is fiercely opposed to daylight saving, took the opportunity to point out the negative health consequences of changing the time every six months.

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Swiss fact: work days lost to strikes in Switzerland close to one ninth of neighbouring countries


Across the ten years to 2008, Switzerland lost an average of 3 working days per 1,000 workers to strikes a year. This compares to 32 days in Austria, 33 days in France, and 55 days in Italy. Germany was close behind Switzerland with 4 days. The combined average for Switzerland’s neighbours: Austria, Germany, France and Italy, was 26 days. Switzerland’s 3 day average was one ninth or 11% of this.

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Squeezed and angry: how to fix the middle class crisis – a look at Switzerland

One of the topics at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos is: Squeezed and angry: how to fix the middle class crisis. As a precursor, the WEF published the 135 page  Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017, which ranks Switzerland 3rd behind Norway and Luxembourg on inclusion, out of a group of 30 advanced economies. In addition, unlike Luxembourg, which is headed slowly backwards, both Switzerland and Norway are moving towards higher inclusion.

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Swiss franc less overvalued according to latest Big Mac index


On 12 January 2017, the Economist came out with its latest Big Mac index. Also known as the burger benchmark, the index compares the price of a Big Mac around the world. This catchy, if highly incomplete means of comparing the relative purchasing power of different currencies, uses the United States and the US$ as its base. Countries where Big Macs cost less than in the United States (in US$ terms) have weak currencies, and those where they are more expensive have overvalued currencies.

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SMI set to end 2016 in negative territory

In the last week of the year, the Swiss Market Index deepened its loss for the year as banks continued lower on low trading volumes. The SMI is set to end 2016 with an annual loss of 6.8% as banking and pharmaceutical giants pulled the index down in a year of turbulent trading. A volatile 2016 started with a brutal equity sell off as investors dumped global stocks on fears of an accelerating economic slowdown in China. The Brexit vote in June provided another genuine shock for market. Equity investor fortunes however took a surprising turn in November after Donald Trump’s victor in the US presidential election inspired a year end stock market rally.

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The hidden cost of Christmas gifts

Value Destroying

If you haven’t had a chance to go Christmas shopping don’t despair, gifts destroy value. For example, someone on a diet is unlikely to place much value on a box of chocolates. The difference between what was paid for the chocolates and what the recipient would have paid represents destroyed value. They could have been left on the shelf for someone who would have fully valued them. Economists call this deadweight loss.

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Swiss to avoid EU clash as immigration bill passes final hurdle

European Comission

After three years of uncertainty, Switzerland may just have solved its immigration dispute with the European Union. Lawmakers in Bern on Friday passed a bill designed to curb EU immigration by giving locals a head start on filling job vacancies. By supporting the measure — which sidesteps quotas — they aim to prevent a deeper dispute that could cost the country crucial trade deals.

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December rally continues this week for SMI

SMI vs. MSCI World Week, December 16

2016’s December rally continued this week as Swiss and European equities outperformed global stocks. The US dollar continued to surge after the Federal Reserve increased interest rates for only the second time in a decade on Wednesday.

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Migros Bank could pass on negative interest rates

Because of negative interest, even a savings account earning 0% interest is earning too much reckons the bank’s boss. Soon many banks will be passing on some of the cost of negative interest to their clients, reports 20 Minutes. Migros Bank will need to seriously consider doing the same in 2017.

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Credit Suisse planning more Swiss job cuts

Credit suisse Zurich

Credit Suisse Group AG is preparing a new cost-savings program that puts as many as 1,300 jobs in Switzerland on the line, according to Schweiz am Sonntag. The plan will be announced Wednesday, when the lender holds its investor day in London, the newspaper said, without saying where it got the information. Credit Suisse’s Swiss unit may slash an additional 1,000 to 1,300 positions, or about eight to 10 percent of the unit’s workforce, it said.

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Swiss EU immigration – unfortunately there is no plan B, says president in interview

Switzerland’s plan to solve an immigration dilemma with the European Union could avoid being held up by another referendum if it gets strong support in parliament next week, according to Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann. A clear result in a final vote on Dec. 16 with the Swiss People’s Party, or SVP, in the minority could make it “delicate” for the group to push for another plebiscite, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Guy Johnson.

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Richemont cuts send shockwaves from Geneva to mountain valleys

Exports of Swiss Watches Decline for 16th Month

Richemont’s plan to slash 210 watchmaking jobs in Switzerland is sending shockwaves from Geneva to some of the country’s remote mountain villages, the cradle of high-end watch manufacturing. In Le Sentier, a town perched in the middle of the Jura mountain range, straddling the border between France and Switzerland, some 400 people protested Thursday against plans to cut the workforce of Vacheron Constantin and Piaget.

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Sunrise beats Swisscom on mobile network coverage

Sunrise Network Performance

After seven years on top, Swisscom has been beaten by Sunrise. The German telecommunications expert and magazine publisher, and its partner P3, travelled roughly 7,000 km by car around Switzerland testing Swiss mobile networks. Tests were also made while walking and on trains. The results were published on Tuesday.

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Swiss stock market awaits result of Italian referendum

SMI vs. MSCI World Week, December 02

Investors appear to be staying on the sidelines this week ahead of the weekend’s Italian referendum. Swiss stocks are set to finish the week lower, underperforming global equities as food giant Nestle and pharmaceutical heavyweights Roche and Novartis drag the index down. It’s been a volatile trading week across financial markets. Oil prices jumped almost 9% on Wednesday after OPEC members finally agreed a deal to cut production while upbeat US economic data triggered further bond market selling, ending a miserable November for Treasuries.

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Switzerland tops talent table despite high cost of living

Swiss dog

Switzerland retains its number one spot in IMD‘s most recent 2016 World Talent Report. Unlike the other 60 nations in the study, which have seen their performance gyrate, a plot of Switzerland’s rank over the last ten years is a perfectly straight line. First ten years in a row.

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Swiss stocks down as the US dollar hits decade high

SMI vs. MSCI World Week November 25

Swiss pharmaceutical and luxury goods giants pulled the Swiss Market Index (SMI) down again this week as investors dropped large cap firms. Global stocks however continued to rise, along with energy prices, on the promise of Trump’s reflationary administration. The US dollar headed further up, reaching decade highs.

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Shuttered Geneva offices show impact of lost banking secrecy

Three years after Lloyds Banking Group Plc sold its private bank in Geneva, the only signs of life at the now-empty building are piles of cigarette butts and nutshells lying on its dirty window ledges. The riverside offices at Place de Bel-Air are a short walk away from the remaining private banks, hedge-fund managers and luxury-goods stores in the heart of the Swiss city. The locked entrance, where millionaire clients used to come and go, is a reminder that some of the biggest names in global finance have quit Geneva for good.

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Swiss watch exports have biggest monthly drop in seven years

Swiss Watch

Shipments fell to 1.68 billion francs ($1.7 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said in a statement Tuesday. The decline was much greater than expected and was made worse because October was the weakest month of last year, according to Zuzanna Pusz, an analyst at Berenberg.

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Swiss are the world’s wealthiest, says report

Swiss Wealth

According to a recent report by the bank Credit Suisse, the Swiss are worth more on average than the residents of any other nation. The bank’s annual Global Wealth Report calculates average net worth per Swiss adult to be US$ 561,900 (CHF 567,500). Switzerland’s combined personal wealth of US$ 3.5 trillion represents 1.4% of the global total, while the nation’s population represents 0.1% of the global total.

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Geneva unveils big tax changes


After nearly ten years of European Union opposition to preferential company tax deals, Switzerland’s government agreed in 2014 to do away with such arrangements. Under current rules Swiss cantons can offer preferential tax rates to certain companies, mostly multinationals with most of their activity abroad. In Geneva, these special rates mean certain companies pay tax at a rate of 11.7%, while all others must pay 24.2%.

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SMI up on post Trump rally

SMI vs. MSCI World

Swiss stocks continued to rise this week, in line with other global stocks thanks to a strong performance from financials which gained as investors weighted the prospects of higher interest rates in the US.

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Swisscom promises to put an end to unwanted sales calls

Unwanted calls

Swisscom’s fixed line (remember those) customers will be given the option of blocking unwanted calls from 28 November. The service will be free and can be activated by checking a box online or by calling the Swisscom hotline (0800 800 800). Sunrise and UPC are expected to follow Swisscom by mid 2017, according to 24 Heures.

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Swiss National Bank won’t cut record low interest rate again, survey shows

SNB negative interest

The Swiss National Bank, which has the lowest interest rate among the world’s major central banks, may be done cutting. SNB President Thomas Jordan and his fellow policy makers will keep the deposit rate unchanged at minus 0.75 percent until at least the end of the first quarter of 2019, according to the median forecast in Bloomberg’s monthly survey of economists. That would mean ignoring the International Monetary Fund’s advice to fend off inflows with a “moderate” reduction. The SNB’s policy consists of both negative rates and currency interventions.

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Those with less are worth more in Schwyz than Geneva

Freienbach in Schwyz

Last Friday, the federal Swiss tax office published the latest statistics covering the wealth and earnings of the nation’s more than 5 million tax payers – Switzerland has wealth tax, so net worth is included in tax returns. The highest percentage of the very wealthiest (CHF 10 million plus) lived in Schwyz. Geneva also made the top five cantons in this category.

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SMI: Trump win boosts pharma and financials

SMI vs. MSCI World Week November 11

A rally in pharmaceutical and banking shares helped boost the Swiss Market Index this week as investors weighed the prospect of a Trump’ presidency in the United States. Stocks in the healthcare sector jumped after Donald Trump’s victory as drug pricing reforms, proposed by Hillary Clinton, are now unlikely to materialize.

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How Switzerland came top of the 2016 young worker’s index


Where you are born makes a big difference to the chances of getting a job when you leave school. In 2015, youth unemployment rates in some OECD countries such as Greece (49.8%), Spain (48.3%) and Italy (40.3%) were all close to 50%. In others such as Germany (7.2%), Austria (10.6%) and Switzerland (8.6%), youth unemployment was far lower. Why? The Young Workers Index 2016, an annual report by PWC, offers some insights.

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Swiss government opposes initiative to transform monetary system

SNB money supply initiative

The Swiss government urged rejection of a popular initiative that would transform the monetary system and end fractional-reserve banking, according to its dispatch to Parliament. The measure seeks to put the central bank solely in charge of money supply and forbid commercial banks from granting loans that aren’t fully backed by deposits, effectively ending the way banking has been conducted for centuries.

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Europe stocks split on Trump win with pharma gaining


The region’s largest industry group headed for its biggest jump in more than 14 months, tempering losses for equity benchmarks after Donald Trump won the race to govern the region’s biggest export market. Novo Nordisk A/S and Shire Plc rose more than 5 percent, after investors punished the shares in recent weeks amid disappointing earnings and speculation Hillary Clinton would push for drug-price controls as president. Citigroup Inc. had cut its rating on the firms in September because of the vote.

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Merkel says Brexit talks mustn’t impact Swiss-EU negotiations

Angela Merkel

Swiss talks with the European Union about immigration restrictions mustn’t be impacted by the U.K.’s decision to leave the bloc, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “In the EU, we should carry on negotiations with Switzerland in the same way as we would have if there were no question on Britain,”.

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Brexit is making it too expensive to go skiing in Alps


The promise of snow across the Alps this weekend won’t be enough to lift the gloom at some of Europe’s top ski resorts as the pound’s post-Brexit slide dents British bookings. Jon Fricker, a property developer in Beaconsfield, west of London, said some of his friends would probably back out of their annual piste reunion if the cost of a long weekend in the Portes du Soleil ski area straddling the border between France and Switzerland climbs much above 500 pounds ($623).

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SMI down as investors eye the US election

The SMI is set to finish the week notably lower as investors continue to dump equities amid worries about the implications of next week’s US election, the trajectory of interest rates and mixed corporate earnings.

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UBS reports drop in wealth profit as Ermotti lowers costs

UBS Results

UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti pledged to continue cost cuts after profit at the wealth-management business fell and the securities unit was hurt by a slump in equities trading. Pretax profit rose 11 percent to 877 million Swiss francs ($883 million) from 788 million francs a year earlier on lower expenses, the Zurich-based bank said in a statement Friday.

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Brexit brings specter of common EU tax plan, and bodes poorly for Switzerland’s immigration negotiation

European Union

Ireland is facing another tax battle with the European Union and this time it will have to fight its own corner. Less than two months after the European Union ordered Ireland to claw back a record 13 billion euros ($14.2 billion) from Apple Inc., saying the nation illegally allowed the iPhone maker to reduce its tax rate, the European Commission will propose legislation for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base on Tuesday.

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Pharma giants drag SMI stocks down

A weak performance from Swiss pharma giants pulled the Swiss Market Index down again this week after investors dropped stocks in the sector on lackluster earnings reports. The peripheral European stocks and Japan managed to buck the trend this week, global stock markets remain under pressure in the run up to US election.

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Syngenta slumps on concern of protracted ChemChina EU review


Syngenta AG shares tumbled on concern that China National Chemical Corp.’s $43 billion takeover of the Swiss herbicide and pesticide maker risks regulatory delays in the European Union. ChemChina didn’t submit so-called remedies in the EU’s early-stage review of the deal by the Oct. 21 deadline, the European Commission’s press office said by phone on Monday.

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Roche revenue gains as sales of breast cancer drugs soar

Roche, cancer, drugs

Roche Holding AG’s third-quarter revenue rose 4.5 percent as its trio of breast-cancer therapies offset stagnating sales of some of its older drugs. Sales climbed to 12.5 billion Swiss francs ($12.6 billion), the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement on Thursday. That compared with the 12.6 billion-franc average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Roche doesn’t report third-quarter earnings.

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Nestle forecasts slowest sales growth in decade as pricing ebbs

Nestle SA forecast the slowest full-year sales growth in more than a decade as food companies worldwide struggle against consumer resistance to price increases. Revenue will gain about 3.5 percent on an organic basis in 2016, the Vevey, Switzerland-based maker of Nespresso coffee said Thursday, abandoning a goal for an increase of about 4.2 percent. Growth in the consumer-goods industry is “relatively fragile,” Chief Financial Officer Francois-Xavier Roger said. The stock fell as much as 2 percent in Zurich.

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Swiss Markets Review: SMI underperforms global stocks

The Swiss Market Index is set to finish the week largely unchanged while global stocks gain on positive US third quarter earnings results, favourable central bank statements and a rallying oil price. The S&P 500 saw its biggest advance since September on Wednesday after US banking giants Citigroup, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo all posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

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Swiss cross-border shopping declines


Residents of German-speaking Switzerland appear to doing less shopping across the border, something that has also been observed in Geneva. According to the newspaper the Handelszeitung, Swiss cross-border shopping peaked in 2015 and local customs posts have seen a decline in VAT and duty collected since March.

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Global stocks at lowest levels since July

The Swiss Market Index is set to finish the week lower, but outperforming global stocks, thanks to a strong week of luxury good stocks. Global stocks fell to their lowest levels since July on Thursday as investors rushed to the safety of government bonds, yen and gold after renewed concerns over weakness in the Chinese economy and as the Federal Reserve considers raising interest rates.

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More Swiss visas for non-Europeans in 2017

Visa quotas for non-EU workers will rise next year. The increased quotas will include 3,000 B-permits and 4,500 L-permits, 1,000 more than this year. These limits are still lower than in 2014, when Swiss politics turned against the free movement of workers from the EU.

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Swiss central bank can cut rates further if needed, says bank president Jordan

SNB Chairman Jordan speaks to media during a news conference in Bern

The Swiss National Bank can cut interest rates further into negative territory if needed, President Thomas Jordan said. “We have still some room to go further if necessary,” Jordan said Saturday in an interview in Washington with Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua. Jordan, who is attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, noted that the bank has already pushed rates quite far.

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Vancouver tops list of cities at risk of housing bubble. Zurich 9, Geneva 11.

Vancouver Property Bubble

Vancouver, London and Stockholm rank as the cities most at risk of a housing bubble after a surge in prices in the past five years, according to a UBS Group AG analysis of 18 financial centers. Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong are also facing stretched valuations, UBS said in its 2016 Global Real Estate Bubble Index report, released Tuesday. San Francisco ranked as the most overvalued housing market in the U.S., while not yet at bubble risk.

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Secret Alpine gold vaults are the new Swiss bank accounts


Deep in the Swiss Alps, next to an old airstrip suitable for landing Gulfstream and Falcon jets, is a vast bunker that holds what may be one of the world’s largest stashes of gold. The entrance, protected by a guard in a bulletproof vest, is a small metal door set into a granite mountain face at the end of a narrow country lane. Behind two farther doors sits a 3.5-ton metal portal that opens only after a code is entered and an iris scan and a facial-recognition screen are performed. A maze of tunnels once used by Swiss armed forces lies within.

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Switzerland’s best paid bosses

The Ethos Foundation recently published a list of Switzerland’s highest paid employees in 2015. The figures are striking and may leave some wondering what someone would do with such large sums. Ethos looks at the pay of the managers of the 204 largest companies listed on the Swiss stock exchange.

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Switzerland stays most competitive nation as WEF warns on trade

World Economic Forum Switzerland

The World Economic Forum named Switzerland the most competitive nation for an eighth straight year as it warned less open trade was threatening economic growth globally. Switzerland was ahead of Singapore and the U.S. in the annual rankings of 138 countries, with Netherlands overtaking Germany to take the fourth spot.

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Juncker eyes Swiss-specific EU immigration deal despite Brexit

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was aiming to solve a two-year-old dispute with Switzerland over immigration in a country-specific manner even in the wake of Brexit. The Swiss government has been at pains to implement restrictions on European Union newcomers decided upon in a 2014 referendum without annulling an economically important set of treaties with the 28-country bloc.

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World markets rally as cheap money policy continues

The Swiss Market Index is set to finish the week notably higher, although under-performing global stocks amid optimism that central banks will continue to support equities by keeping interest rates at historic lows and providing markets with additional liquidity.

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Julius Baer CEO says Asia revenue may excede Europe’s in 5 years

Julius Baer Group Ltd. said Asia may overtake Europe as its biggest revenue-generating region, as the Swiss wealth manager steps up hiring in Hong Kong and Singapore. “In the next five years, Asia could be the biggest region for us if we grow at double-digit” rates, Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said Wednesday in an interview in Singapore. More than half of about 200 new bankers that Julius Baer plans to hire this year will be based in Asia, he added.

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Swiss still the world’s wealthiest, says report

Swiss Worlds Wealthiest

Largely due to a flood of central bank liquidity, global private financial assets have grown by 61% over the seven years since the financial crisis, almost twice the growth rate of economic output, says a report from the German Insurance giant Allianz. This has boosted the wealth of those who own shares.

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Swiss economy slowly gains momentum but risks remain

In a report published by SECO, a group of economy experts working for Switzerland’s federal government, says it anticipates an acceleration in economic growth in Switzerland from 0.8% in 2015 to 1.5% in 2016 and 1.9% in 2017. Along side this they expect unemployment to rise from 3.3% in 2015, to an annual average of 3.6% in 2016, before falling again to 3.4% in 2017. However, they also see risks.

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Swiss central bank keeps rates on hold as Brexit fallout clouds outlook

The post contains the main-stream view on the Swiss National Bank. It is the “continued intervention pledge”. But seven years post the financial we are in the second part of the business cycle. In the second part, the SNB must fear rising inflation more than the ECB. For us, Brexit has not influenced the main driver of global GDP growth, U.S. or European consumers.

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Swiss stocks drop on volatility spike

SMI vs. MSCI World

The Swiss Market Index is set to finish the week notably weaker along with global equity markets as fears around global monetary policy hit sentiment ahead of key meetings by the Bank of Japan and US Federal Reserve next week. The SMI did manage to outperform its European peers thanks to its heavy weighting towards more defensive pharmaceuticals and consumer staples sectors.

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Seven years of inaction on SNB rates day won’t end this week

Anyone feeling let down that the European Central Bank didn’t do much last week might just want to skip the Swiss rate decision on Thursday to avoid more disappointment. While the Swiss National Bank may be infamous for some seismic policy changes in the last few years, those bombshells weren’t dropped at scheduled meetings. In fact, the last time the institution altered interest rates at a decision in its public calendar was more than seven years ago.

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Swiss stocks fluctuate as central bank decisions dominate the landscape

The Swiss Market Index, along with other European markets, fluctuated this week as central bank decisions dominated the landscape. Equity markets advanced at the beginning of the week as chances of the Federal Reserve raising US interest rates later this month declined after a surprisingly weak report on the US service-sector earlier this week.

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Cash in a box catches on as Swiss negative rates bite

It’s a sign the world is getting used to negative interest rates when what once seemed bizarre starts looking like the norm. Consider Switzerland, where more and more companies are taking out insurance policies to protect their cash hoards from theft or damage.

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UBS handed setback in $2 billion mortgage buy-back lawsuit

UBS New York

A UBS Group AG unit was found by a federal judge to have violated some contracts with mortgage-backed securities trusts that hold loans, putting it at risk of having to buy back more loans or pay damages in a $2 billion lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel Tuesday ruled that UBS Real Estate Securities Inc. had breached warranties on 13 of 20 loans in the trusts that were introduced into evidence in a three-week trial in Manhattan in May.

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European and Swiss stocks higher on bank rally

SMI vs. MSCI World Week September 2

The Swiss Market Index, along with other European markets, is trading slightly higher this week after financials rallied on merger and acquisition rumors and hopes for improved growth. European banks, the industry group battered the most so far this year, lead gains after it emerged that Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG executives held talks about a potential merger in early August this year.

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Negative interest pushes Switzerland’s 2016 budget into positive territory

Switzerland’s budget for 2016 is looking better than expected. Instead of a shortfall of CHF 0.5 billion, the latest figures forecast a surplus of CHF 1.7 billion. Overall income was up CHF 1.2 billion and costs were down CHF 1.0 billion. This CHF 2.2 billion shift took the annual forecast from CHF -0.5 billion to CHF 1.7 billion. The biggest driver of the change was the effect of negative interest rates.

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Britain’s Brexit binge on Swiss watches

The pendulum for Britain has swung back to positive, and it’s tourists who’ve pushed it there.Britain was one of the few bright spots for Swiss watch exports in July, rising 13.4 percent from a year earlier and counteracting a massive 26 percent drop in June, according to data published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry on Tuesday.

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Swiss market lower this week as US stocks reach new record highs

The Swiss Market Index is set to close lower this week underperforming global equities as US stocks reached new record highs and emerging markets outperformed on a weaker dollar. Oil also made further gains this week as investors bet that talks between OPEC members and other producers may result in action to stabilise the market in the coming weeks.

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Swiss stock market rally loses momentum

The Swiss Market Index and global stock markets failed to extend last week’s rally after the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan left rates unchanged and gave mixed messages about the global economic outlook.

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Roche CEO worried about U.K. drug research following Brexit

The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union poses a threat to research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, Roche Holding AG Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan said. A departure would mean the country would have to set up its own system for approving drugs for sale, a job now done for bloc members by the European Medicines Agency.

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Givaudan profit beats estimates on U.S. fragrance demand

Givaudan SA, the world’s largest flavors and fragrance company, reported first-half profit that beat analyst estimates on increased demand for perfumes. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 13 percent to 638 million francs ($649 million), the Vernier, Switzerland-based company said in a statement on Monday. Analysts had predicted 576 million francs. Sales gained 6.2 percent on a like-for-like basis to 2.33 billion francs.

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Novartis says profit may drop

Novartis AG said profit may fall this year as the Swiss drugmaker increases spending on the heart medicine Entresto and faces declining sales of its best-selling cancer treatment Gleevec. Core operating income will either be about the same as 2015 or decline by a percentage in the low single digits at constant exchange rates, Novartis said Tuesday in a statement. Sales will show little change.

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Swiss stocks higher on stimulus bet

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) is set to finish this week higher tracking equity market gains around the world as investors begin to anticipate a new wave of economic stimulus from central banks.

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QE and stress tests could cause a state of emergency for some insurers

European insurers, whose profits are being eroded by Mario Draghi’s quantitative-easing program, face a stress-test headache that risks requiring them to set aside more capital, further hurting their ability to make money. The timing of the regulator’s “stress test couldn’t be worse as the results will be rather negative,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, who helps oversee about $12 billion as director of fund management at Landesbank Berlin Investment.

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Some question price of Swiss stocks as safe haven status awakened

Swiss stocks, dislodged in 2015 as a haven from European volatility, have seen the status restored following Brexit — so much that some investors are balking at valuations. After trailing shares from Germany to France and Italy for most the past year, the Swiss Market Index is finding a new appeal in the fallout of the U.K. vote to leave the European Union.

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SMI up on Brexit bargain hunting

Investec’s weekly view on Stock Markets and the SMI. Global equity markets are set to post gains this week as investors digest the impact of the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union. Swiss stocks outperformed global markets as defensive heavyweights Nestle outperformed.

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Brexit shakes global markets and the SMI

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) is set to post a modest gain this week despite confirmation that the UK has decided to leave the European Union. The SMI opened almost 7% lower following the announcement before recovering.

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