Category Archive: 3) Swiss Markets and News

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Healthcare costs rise further in Switzerland

Statistics published today show a further rise in Swiss healthcare costs. In 2016, spending on healthcare rose by 3.8% reaching over CHF 80 billion, 12.2% of GDP. In 2015, Swiss healthcare spending was equal to 11.9% of GDP. The challenge of rising healthcare costs is not confined to Switzerland. In the UK in 2015, healthcare costs rose 3.6% to reach 9.9% of GDP.

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Swiss unemployment at lowest in 3.5 years

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

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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Sika stand-off with family heirs continues unabated

During another stormy annual general meeting, the majority stakeholders of Swiss chemical manufacturer Sika were once again controversially denied the chance to vote in a new chairman who would support their plans to sell the company to a French rival. At Tuesday’s AGM, the family heirs of Sika’s founder faced a familiar pattern of having their votes restricted when it came to electing board members.

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Insurance boss suggests Swiss health insurance deductibles of 10,000 francs

Philomena Colatrella, the CEO of Swiss insurer CSS Insurance, has stirred the lively debate around Switzerland’s rising cost of health insurance by proposing deductibles of CHF 5,000 and CHF 10,000 – deductibles set the amount people pay out of their own pockets before their insurance kicks in.

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Geneva hotels are the most expensive in Europe

Staying in a hotel in Geneva costs more than anywhere else in Europe, according to an international survey. The €242.90 (CHF288 or $300) average charge per night puts Geneva ahead of Paris (€232.30), while Zurich is listed as the third most expensive destination at €203.90. The Hotel President Wilson in Geneva reportedly boasts the most expensive overnight tariff in the world, charging around CHF80,000 ($83,300) to stay in its royal penthouse...

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Swiss welfare recipient made to repay 173,000 francs

In some parts of Switzerland welfare payments are effectively loans that must be repaid when the recipient’s financial situation improves. According to the Aargauer Zeitung, a welfare recipient in the commune of Klingnau in the canton of Aargau received a bill of 173,000 francs after he came into some money. A windfall of 173,000 francs is rare, according to Rolf Walker, head of administration at the commune.

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

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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SR Technics to cut jobs at Zurich airport

Aviation support company SR Technics has announced plans to cut a net 200 jobs at Switzerland’s main airport as part of a business review. The company, which is part of China’s HNA group, announced that it could reduce its workforce in aircraft services by as many as 300 positions while adding more than 100 jobs in engine services.

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Nine out of ten Swiss want to buy less, survey finds

A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey published on Monday has found that the majority of people in Switzerland are considering shopping less, and young people are particularly likely to take a critical look at their buying behaviour. The Swiss consume “as if there is no tomorrow”: they fly twice as frequently as their neighbours, buy the heaviest cars in Europe, and produce more waste per capita than in any other nation on earth, the WWF said in a...

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Cross-border workers in Geneva face ‘toxic’ environment

Cross-border workers are tired of being the target of political attacks in Geneva, says the president of a French-Swiss cross-border lobby group, who calls for a change in current rhetoric to prevent future damage to the Swiss economy. For Michel Charrat, president of the Groupement transfrontalier européenexternal link, disenchantment between Geneva and its cross-border workers may be at its lowest point.

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Swiss corporate tax rates ‘likely to fall’ in some cantons

Impending corporate tax reforms are likely to reduce rates in higher tax cantons, such as Geneva, Vaud and Basel City, according to KPMG. Overall, the business consultancy group expects Switzerland to remain an attractive location for multinational corporations.

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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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French strike affects Swiss rail connections

Nationwide strikes in France against railway reforms have resulted in all rail connections to Switzerland being cancelled on Tuesday. The so-called Black Tuesday marked the first day of a series of strikes expected to last until the end of June. Rail employees have been called upon to stop work on two out of five days every week until June 30.

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Food consumes far less of Swiss budgets than it did 25 years ago

Comparing the most recent statistics on Swiss consumer inflation to those in 1993 reveals a steep drop in the percentage of spending allocated to food. When statisticians calculate consumer price rises they look at the prices of a standard basket of goods. In 1993, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up 14.3% of the value of this standard basket. By 2018, the percentage had fallen to 10.4%, a 27% drop.

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EasyJet foresees Swiss market growth

In an interview given to the SonntagsZeitung on Sunday, EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren described the company's strategy for increasing its already-growing share of passengers in the Swiss market. Lundgren told the German-language paper than in recent years, the low-cost British airline has counted about one million additional passengers in the Swiss market annually, and anticipates continued growth thanks to a combination of targeted advertising and...

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Tax and spend – canton of Geneva generates a surprise budget surplus

When Geneva’s finances make the news it is typically bad. At the end of 2016, the canton had debts of CHF 12.5 billion, equal to 153% of its income. In January 2018, the rating agency Standard and Poors gave Geneva a negative outlook citing risks related to the canton’s poorly funded public pension scheme.

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Shell accuses former executive of hiding bribes in Switzerland

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former employee it suspects of stashing kickbacks from the sale of a Nigerian oil field in Swiss bank accounts. The energy company is already being investigated over another deal there.

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Bankrupt Petroplus climate payments ‘non-refundable’

Climate fund payments made to now-bankrupt Swiss oil refiner Petroplus cannot be reclaimed by creditors as they constituted a business arrangement that brought benefits to contributors as opposed to a gift. This ruling from Zurich’s highest court has stopped a CH15 million ($16 million) claim in its tracks, barring an appeal to the federal courts.

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Credit Suisse boss earned less last year

Credit Suisse Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam earned slightly less in 2017 during his third year on the job, the bank said on Friday. The news comes at a time of scrutiny over executive pay and bonuses. Thiam earned CHF9.7 million ($10.26 million) last year, a 5.3% drop on 2016, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank said.

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