Category Archive: 3) Swiss Markets and News

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Switzerland has most expensive food and drinks in Europe

Switzerland has been ranked the second-most expensive European country behind Iceland for consumer goods, which are 59% higher than the European Union average. Food and non-alcoholic drinks are particularly pricey.

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Driving licence loses attraction for young Swiss

The number of people who applied for a Swiss driving licence dropped by 2% last year, with applications from 18- to 24-year-olds down 3%. Some 5.8 million people owned a driving licence for cars in 2017, the Federal Roads Officeexternal link said on Tuesday. This 1% increase was due not only to new drivers but also to foreign licences being exchanged for Swiss ones and natural population growth, it explained.

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The price of solidarity – Switzerland’s inter-cantonal payments for 2019

In Switzerland, much in life revolves around the canton. Cantons have their own health, social and education systems, parliaments and tax rates. Federal government, based in Bern, is a layer that sits over the top, bringing the cantons together as Switzerland.

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Rail workers stand against proposed cuts

Some 1,400 rail workers took to the streets across the country on Monday to protest a package of cuts and reforms planned by the Swiss Federal Railways. The demonstrations, called for by the Union for public transport workers (SEV), were spread across several Swiss cities: Geneva, Lausanne, Olten, Bern, and Zurich, where the largest event brought together about 350 workers in the late afternoon.

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Swiss Offshore Wealth Management Sector still World’s Largest by far

A report by The Boston Consulting Group highlights the size of Switzerland’s personal offshore wealth management sector. Total personal offshore wealth grew by 6% to reach US$8.2 trillion in 2017. US$2.3 trillion (28%) of this was managed in Switzerland. The top three offshore centres: Switzerland ($2.3 trillion), Hong Kong ($1.1 trillion) and Singapore ($0.9 trillion) made up more than half (52%) of the total.

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Switzerland remains biggest offshore wealth centre

The stock market boom boosted personal financial wealth around the globe by 12% last year – to the benefit of Switzerland. It is still the world’s biggest centre for managing offshore wealth at $2.3 trillion (CHF2.3 trillion). Figures revealed in a Boston Consulting Group report published on Thursday put the country ahead of Hong Kong ($1.1 trillion) and Singapore ($900 billion). The Swiss sum is the equivalent of almost one third of all global...

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Switzerland’s parliament narrowly votes for women’s quotas on company boards

Yesterday, Switzerland’s National Council, or parliament, voted 95 to 94, with 3 abstentions, to introduce quotas for the management and boards of quoted companies. Boards will be required to have 30% women and management teams 20%. The rules could affect 250 companies.

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Financial watchdog accuses Raiffeisen of major governance failings

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has concluded its investigation into Swiss bank Raiffeisen, saying it identified “serious shortcomings” in governance. “FINMA has found that the bank’s handling of conflicts of interest was inadequate,” the regulatory body said in a statementexternal link on Thursday.

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Swiss health costs set to exceed CHF10,000 per person

The average Swiss will for the first time spend more than CHF10,000 ($10,159) on health care in 2018 and 2019, according to an economic research institute and think tank. KOF, part of the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, says this is down to the growing economy: the more people earn, the more they spend on their health. It also bases its calculations on the growing proportion of old people in the Swiss population.

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Vaud Plans Tax Cuts

The residents of Vaud are among the highest taxed in Switzerland. In 2016, a single person in Lausanne earning CHF 100,000 paid CHF 16,050 in cantonal and communal tax on top of CHF 1,840 of federal tax. This was the fourth highest across all of Switzerland’s 26 cantonal capitals, and almost triple Zug, the lowest, where the figure was CHF 5,750 – see chart below.

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Swiss pensions – lump sum withdrawal restrictions rejected by Council of States

Against the wishes of the Federal Council, Switzerland’s upper house, the Council of States, rejected a plan to prevent people from withdrawing lump sums from their 2nd Pillar pensions, according to the newspaper Tribune de Genève. Last week, the Council of States voted 25 to 15 to reject the plan.

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Swiss jobless rate drops to 2.4 percent

The unemployment rate in Switzerland has reached a new nadir – just 2.4%, according to latest official statistics. The number of jobseekers is the lowest since the financial crisis. The statistics, published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Thursday, show that the numbers of unemployed turning up at job centres fell by 9% last month, bringing the overall unemployment rate down from 2.7% to 2.4%.

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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...

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Swiss Prosecutors will not Pursue Novartis over Trump Lawyer Payments

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) announced on Wednesday that it will not bring proceedings against Novartis in connection with the payments the Swiss pharmaceutical company made to Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

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Parliament snubs Swiss expat calls for better banking ties

The Swiss Abroad community has suffered a new setback in its efforts to receive improved access to banking services in Switzerland. The House of Representatives on Tuesday threw out a call on the government to ease the financial woes of expatriates by publishing relevant information on the websites of the foreign ministry and Switzerland’s diplomatic representations abroad for the Swiss overseas communities.

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PostFinance Еxpected to Axe 500 Jobs

Post Finance external link, one of Switzerland’s leading financial institutions, expects to cut up to 500 full-time jobs by the end of 2020. The banking division of the Post Office has launched multiple measures to counter the erosion of profit margins and the resulting decline in revenues.

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No relief for Swiss renters

Every three months the rate of interest used to set Swiss rents is reviewed. If it goes down some renters have the right to request a decrease in rent. This time it remained at 1.50%. The last time it dropped was 1 June 2017 when it fell to its lowest level since 2008.

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Slowdown in Middle Eastern tourists to Switzerland

After almost tripling in the last decade, the number of tourists to Switzerland from the Middle East is slowing down, with the slowdown expected to be particularly marked this summer. The growth rate of tourists from the Gulf will be zero this summer, according to forecasts by Oxford Economics and the Swiss tourist board.

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House Prices Down in Verbier but Up in Some other Swiss resorts

A recent report published by UBS shows real estate price changes in european mountain resorts. Over the last year, Verbier (-3.2%) and Crans Montana (-3.0%) experienced the largest price declines, while Saas Fee (+14.3%) and St. Moritz (+7.4%) climbed the most.

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Pay in Zurich and Geneva highest in the world

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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