Category Archive: 3) Swiss Markets and News

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Syngenta slammed for hazardous pesticide profits

A United Nations representative is demanding action following reports that Swiss crop science company Syngenta is selling highly hazardous pesticides abroad. “There is an urgent need to end this exploitation of lower standards of protection. This is a morally and ethically unjustifiable situation,” Baskut Tuncak, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, told Swiss NGO Public Eye on Wednesday.

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Credit Suisse to take controlling stake in its Chinese joint venture

Swiss bank Credit Suisse has agreed with Founder Securities to increase its shareholding to a majority stake in its Beijing-based Credit Suisse Founder Securities (CSFS) joint venture. As a result of the agreement, Credit Suisse’s shareholding is expected to increase from 33.3% to 51% by way of capital injection. The shareholding of Founder Securities in CSFS will reduce to 49%.

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Swiss pension funds ended 2018 in the red

Pay-outs by Switzerland’s main state pension plan, which comprises old age insurance and other schemes, far exceeded income last year. Overall, the old age pension scheme recorded a deficit of CHF2.2 billion ($2.2 billion) in 2018 compared with a surplus of CHF1.1 billion the previous year, according to compenswiss, the Federal Social Security Funds.

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Swiss leaders upbeat after talks in US on tax and trade

Obstacles to implementation of a revised double-taxation agreement between Switzerland and the United States may soon be removed, according to Swiss president and finance minister Ueli Maurer. Maurer was speaking after a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday in Washington, where he is attending the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

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Holiday traffic jams build at Gotthard tunnel

The start of the Easter holidays in many Swiss cantons is causing long tailbacks at the Gotthard tunnel in central Switzerland, with waits of more than two hours at the northern end. Just before midday on Saturday, the traffic queue to enter the tunnel going south stretched for 14 kilometres, according to the Touring Club of Switzerland (TCS). There was also a two-kilometre tailback at the southern end.

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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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Swiss test finds toxic substances in e-cigarettes

Testing commissioned by Blue Cross, a Swiss organisation focused on helping those with addictions, found toxic substances in the Iqos electronic cigarette produced by Philip Morris, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.

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Swisscom forges ahead with 5G amid safety fears

Telecoms operator Swisscom says it plans to cover 90% of Switzerland with “5G” fifth-generation mobile communications by the end of this year. “As soon as we have the concession for the new mobile frequencies, we will activate our networks,” Swisscom director Urs Schaeppi told the media on Wednesday. The networks were put in place in partnership with Swedish telecoms company Ericsson.

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Medical funding from big pharma continues apace

An investigative report by a group of Swiss newspapers has revealed the extent to which pharmaceutical companies are funding hospitals, doctors, and medical centres in the country. CHF458 million ($456.5 million): this was the amount paid by the 60 pharma companies based in Switzerland to various arms of the medical profession between 2015 and 2017, according to a report by the Beobachter, Handelszeitung, Blick, and Le Temps newspapers.

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More Swiss bankruptcies in 2018 than ever before

Last year saw a record number of bankruptcy procedures opened in Switzerland, with almost 14,000 cases involving bust businesses and individuals. The record numbers, released on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office, mark a 5.4% increase on 2017 and translate to overall financial losses of some CHF2 billion ($2 billion).

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Ailing fintech Monetas goes into liquidation again

Bankruptcy proceedings have been reignited against troubled Swiss digital payments company Monetas more than a year after the enterprise hit serious financial difficulties. Efforts to find a new buyer appear to have come to nothing as the firm goes into liquidation.

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Foreign Investors Own 60 percent of Swiss Corporations

Global financial institutions are increasingly dominating the shareholders of major Swiss companies, according to the Sunday editionexternal link of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). The German-language newspaper points to Swiss banking giant Credit Swiss as a prime example of a financial institution where traditional shareholder democracy is eroding fast.

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Income inequality declines in Switzerland

In 2016, before the effects of taxes and welfare, the highest earning 20% of Swiss households made on average 40.8 times what an average household in the bottom 20 percent made, an inequality measure known as the S80/S20. However, after taxes and welfare, including low income support, health insurance subsidies, pensions and disability benefits, the same income ratio fell to 4.4.

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Swiss regulator fires warning over buy-to-let property lending

The Swiss financial regulator has warned banks that rules on mortgage lending may be further tightened if they fail to control their appetite for dishing out real estate credit. Loans tipped the one trillion franc mark in 2017 and continue to swell, particularly in the buy-to-let market.

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Switzerland continues to lure foreign companies

Switzerland attracted 282 foreign firms to set up shop in the alpine state, creating 899 jobs last year, according to cantonal economic chiefs. That’s an increase of 37 companies from 2017. Switzerland is in the throes of revamping its corporate tax system to keep it line with the competition rules of the European Union and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Raiffeisen Switzerland bank to cut 200 jobs

Switzerland’s third-largest bank says it will cut up to 200 jobs to save CHF100 million ($100 million) this year. Raiffeisen is reorganising and undertaking a cost-cutting programme. This follows a recent fraud allegation scandal involving its former chief executive.

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Steep drop in thefts in Switzerland

Comparing 2018 to 2012, thefts in Switzerland fell by nearly half, according to the Federal Statistical Office. In 2012, there were a record 219,000 thefts recorded in Switzerland. By 2018, the figure had fallen to 112,000, a drop of 49%.

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Swiss likely to vote on capital tax reform plan

The leftwing Young Socialist group has handed in the necessary signatures to force a nationwide vote on its proposal to increase tax on capital revenue in Switzerland. The initiative intends to tax dividends and interest on wealth by a factor of 1.5 compared with regular income tax.

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IMF predicts Swiss growth to slow to 1.1percent in 2019

The Swiss economy is likely to slow in 2019, with gross domestic product growth expected to hit 1.1%, followed by a “moderate” recovery in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday. The IMF said in a concluding statement, published on Monday following a mission to Switzerland and an annual evaluation, that a “sustained regional slowdown, intensification of global trade tensions and a disruptive Brexit” would adversely affect the Swiss...

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Stadler lands $600 million order in the US

Swiss railway vehicle manufacturer Stadler Rail has won a $600 million (CHF597 million) order in the United States. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTAexternal link) on Friday announced its decision to award Stadlerexternal link the contract for 127 Metro (underground) trains with two options of 25 additional trains each.

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