Category Archive: Swiss Markets and News

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Vaud – vote on divisive dental tax and care plan

On 4 March 2018, voters in Vaud will vote on a plan to provide basic universal dental care funded by a tax on salaries. The initiative entitled: Reimbursement of dental care, Pour le remboursement des soins dentaires in French, claims that 10% of the population avoid the dentist because of the cost. They also claim links between poor dental health and cancer, diabetes and premature births. Their plan envisages the creation of a network of...

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Swiss financial watchdog publishes ICO guidelines

The Swiss financial watchdog has published guidelines on digital currency fundraisers - known as initial coin offerings - under which it will regulate some ICOs, either under anti-money laundering laws or as securities. The Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) says the guidelines “also define the information FINMA requires to deal with such enquiries and the principles upon which it will base its responses,” according to a press...

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Number plate sale sets new record at auction

A number plate for the Swiss canton of Zug has sold anonymously at auction for CHF233,000 ($253,353), breaking the previous record of CHF161,000. For now, the buyer of the “ZG 10” plate remains unknown, as the item was sold on Wednesday at an anonymous online auction. Several other car and motorcycle plates were auctioned off at the event, the proceeds of which brought more than CHF500,000 to the treasury of the central Swiss canton.

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Switzerland tops latest financial secrecy index

While Switzerland isn’t the most financially secretive nation in the Tax Justice Network’s recently published report, its combination of size and secrecy pushed it into first place, the worst rank in the Financial Secrecy Index 2018. Size is factored in because it measures the damage a nation’s financial secrecy has on the world, says The Tax Justice Network.

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Ticket cheats in Switzerland soon to be listed in a national register

Tickets cannot be bought on public transport in Switzerland. Passengers are required to have a ticket before boarding. Those caught on public transport without one will soon have their names put into a national register. This will ensure progressively higher fines are issued to repeat offenders.

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Judicial complaint filed over PostBus scandal

The Federal Office of Transport has filed a legal complaint to the Attorney General’s office and judicial authorities of Bern canton in connection with the scandal hitting the Swiss PostBus company. The complaint for possible breaches of administrative law, fraud and mismanagement is filed against unnamed persons.

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Swiss public accounts better than expected in 2017

Swiss government accounts closed with a surplus of CHF2.8 billion ($3 billion) for 2017, compared with a forecast deficit of CHF250 million, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said at a press conference in Bern on Wednesday. This was due mainly to higher-than-estimated tax revenues.

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Swiss businesses in China upbeat after record export year

According to a survey, 72% of Swiss business leaders in China expect “higher” or “substantially higher” sales of goods from Switzerland to China and Hong Kong in 2018 than in 2017, when exports reached a record CHF16.7 billion ($17.9 billion). Just 5% of business leaders anticipated lower export figures this year, according to the preliminary results of the 2018 Swiss Business in China Survey, which were released Tuesday by Swiss Centers...

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Justice ministry confirms legal aid requests in Greece-Novartis scandal

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice has confirmed it has received two requests for legal assistance from Greece and the United States linked to probes into Novartis and alleged bribes involving the Swiss drugmaker and Greek doctors and public officials. The two requests for legal assistance linked to the Novartis-Greek scandal were received at the end of last year and in January 2018 and are being studied, a justice ministry official confirmed...

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Swiss Post CEO rejects blame for PostBus subsidies scandal

The head of Swiss Post, Susanne Ruoff, has refused to step down for errors she admits were made at the PostBus subsidiary company regarding the manipulation of accounts to claim tens of millions of francs worth of federal and cantonal subsidies. “I neither lied nor did anything wrong,” Ruoff declared in an interview on Sunday in the SonntagsBlick newspaper.

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Chinese textile firm buys luxury Bally brand

Luxury shoemaker Bally, which was founded in Switzerland in 1851, has again changed hands. China’s Shandong Ruyi has agreed to buy a controlling stake in the firm from Luxembourg-based JAB Holding, the companies said on Friday. “This is an important milestone for Shandong Ruyi Group in our enterprise to become a global leader in the fashion apparel sector,” Yafu Qiu, Chairman of Shandong Ruyi Groupexternal link, said in a statement.

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Swiss stock market holds up amid global turbulence

After a week marked by declines on Wall Street and stalling Asian markets, the Swiss stock market closed on Friday relatively unscathed, with the index of blue chip stocks dropping 0.93% to 8682.00 points. Over the course of the week, the Swiss Market Index (SMI) of leading Swiss stocks fell by 3.1%.

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South Korea and Switzerland set a currency swap

South Korea and Switzerland are entering into a bilateral currency swap agreement, it was announced on Friday. The move is aimed at strengthening buffers against external financial shocks for both countries. “The swap agreement enables Korean won and Swiss francs to be purchased and repurchased between the two central banks, up to a limit of KRW11.2 trillion, or CHF10 billion [$10.6 billion],” a Swiss National Bank statement saidexternal link.

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Swiss real estate risk falls two quarters in a row, says UBS

The UBS Swiss Real Estate Bubble Index declined in the last quarter of 2017, the second quarterly decline in a row. Prices are considered balanced when the index reaches zero. Between zero and 1 is considered a price boom, between 1 and 2 is considered at risk and above 2 a bubble. At the end of 2017 the index sat at 1.32, still in the zone where there is a risk of a price correction.

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Swisscom reports job cuts, data breach

The Swiss telecom company, whose majority shareholder is the government, announced plans to reduce up to 700 jobs by the end of the year as part of cost-cutting measures. It also revealed a data breach of client information. “By the end of 2018, Swisscom expects to have a headcount of around 17,000 FTEs [full-time employees] in Switzerland, around 700 fewer than at the end of 2017,” said a company statementexternal link released on Wednesday.

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Wood not labelled properly in Switzerland

Five out of six Swiss companies selling wood or wooden products fail to declare the type and origin of the wood correctly – despite a legal requirement that has been in place since 2012. As the Federal Consumer Affairs Bureauexternal link announced on Tuesday, it conducted 120 inspections last year and found that only 17% of the audited companies had declared their products correctly.

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Greek politicians named in Novartis scandal

Greece's parliament has linked ten prominent politicians to a bribery scandal involving Swiss drug-maker Novartis. The Greek parliament announced on Tuesday the results of a judicial investigation into alleged bribes paid to public officials by Basel-based Novartisexternal link over nearly a decade to boost subscriptions of their products at public hospitals.

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Swiss tech universities boost economy by CHF13 billion, report says

Switzerland’s federal technology institutes account for 100,000 jobs and CHF13 billion in added value to the economy, a new report calculates. This represents a fivefold return on investment, it claims. The institutes – notably the universities of EPFL in Lausanne and ETH in Zurich – have long been acknowledged as vital components of the Swiss image and economy; the reportexternal link by British consulting firm BiGGAR now tries to put a value on...

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New Swiss tourism boss targets Alpine cyclists and non-skiers

New head of Switzerland Tourism Martin Nydegger expects hotel bookings to rise by 4% this winter season, owing to abundant snow. In an interview with Sonntagszeiting and Le Matin Dimanche newspapers, he also talks about priorities for 2018. Nydegger took over on January 1 from Jürg Schmid, who had headed the organizationexternal link for 18 years. He says he is planning some changes, but not a big shakeup.

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Motorway stickers set to bring in CHF350 million

Anyone wanting to drive on Swiss motorways from Thursday will need the new 2018 vignette, a charge sticker which is placed inside one’s windscreen, costing CHF40 ($42.90). The Federal Customs Administration said on Wednesday it expected to sell around 9.6 million vignettes, resulting in a net income of some CHF347 million.

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