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Swiss bankruptcies fell by 7 percent in 2020

3 days ago

© Deaconsdocs | Dreamstime.com In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Swiss economy. GDP fell by 2.9% compared to 2019. However, despite the fall in economic output the number of bankruptcies fell by 6.7% compared to 2019. In addition to a fall in the number of bankruptcies, the sum lost from closed bankruptcies fell 27%, …

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IMF praises Switzerland’s economic response to the pandemic

4 days ago

© Marekusz | Dreamstime.com According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Switzerland has economically navigated the Covid-19 pandemic well so far. In 2020, the Swiss economy shrank by 2.9%, far less than many other advanced European economies. France (-8.2%), Germany (-4.9%), Italy (-8.9%) and the UK (-9.9%) all performed far worse. According to the IMF, …

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Cash makes a comeback in Switzerland during pandemic

4 days ago

At the beginning of the pandemic there were calls to avoid using cash for sanitary reasons. Contactless electronic payment was the recommended method of transacting.

© Maksym Kapliuk | Dreamstime.comLast spring cash withdrawals from cash machines sank by 50% in Switzerland, according to the SIX Group. Across the whole of 2020, cash withdrawals from Swiss cash machines was down 23% and contactless payments were up, according to Le Temps.

However, despite rising cashless payments and reduced use of cash machines, the volume of cash demanded rose, a phenomenon observed in Switzerland and the eurozone. And the trend intensified during the pandemic with the value of euro notes in circulation rising 11% in 2020.

What is going on?

In times of crisis people save more, something that

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France asks Switzerland for help with Covid patients

5 days ago

© Hideko1979 | Dreamstime.com The French region of Bourgogne-Franche Comté has contacted several Swiss cantons and asked them if they would take Covid patients, according to RTS. Jacques Gerber, the minister of health in the canton of Jura told RTS that there had been a request from France to prepare in case French hospitals become …

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IMF praises Switzerland’s economic response to the pandemic

5 days ago

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Switzerland has economically navigated the Covid-19 pandemic well so far.

© Marekusz | Dreamstime.comIn 2020, the Swiss economy shrank by 2.9%, far less than many other advanced European economies. France (-8.2%), Germany (-4.9%), Italy (-8.9%) and the UK (-9.9%) all performed far worse.

According to the IMF, the impact of the pandemic in Switzerland was cushioned by solid public and household finances, competitive export industries, a large well-capitalised financial sector, low dependency on contact-intensive sectors, a well-resourced healthcare system and targeted containment measures.

In addition, swift emergency spending exceeding 10% of GDP, which provided targeted support for households and businesses, was crucial to

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Swiss bankruptcies fell by 7% in 2020

5 days ago

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Swiss economy. GDP fell by 2.9% compared to 2019. However, despite the fall in economic output the number of bankruptcies fell by 6.7% compared to 2019.

© Deaconsdocs | Dreamstime.comIn addition to a fall in the number of bankruptcies, the sum lost from closed bankruptcies fell 27%, after adjusting for the CHF 6.5 billion lost from the collapse of the Erb empire, Switzerland’s second largest bankruptcy after Swissair. Rolf Erb, the last CEO of the group, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison. However, he died in 2017 before his sentence began, according to Blick.

In 2020, 12,912 bankruptcies were filed in Switzerland, compared to 13,840 in 2019. The last time the number was as low as this was in 2014, when 11,842 filings were made. The

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Inflation accelerates in Switzerland in March

11 days ago

During 2020, average annual inflation was –0.7%, according to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO). Since the beginning of 2021 it has begun to rise.

© Vlad Ispas | Dreamstime.comIn January 2021 inflation was 0.1%. In February it rose to 0.2% and it March it was 0.3%. Since the end of 2020, Swiss prices have risen by nearly 0.6% (0.56%).

If the current inflation rate were to continue until the end of the year annual inflation in Switzerland would hit 2.25%.

The sharpest price rises since the end of last year were in transport (+1.58%), housing and energy (+0.53%) and hotels and restaurants (+0.94%).

A big driver of rising transport and energy costs is the rising cost of fuel. Petrol prices rose 9.6%, diesel was up 9.0% and heating oil rose 7.8%. Part of the rise

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Swiss crime down sharply during first wave of pandemic

20 days ago

Statistics from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office show a dramatic fall in the number of crimes during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020.

© Releon8211 | Dreamstime.comAcross all of 2020, 421,678 crimes were recorded, 2.4% fewer than the year before. Drug crimes (-9%), immigration crimes (-12%) and burglaries (-10%) were all down.

At the same time violent crimes rose 3%, in particular serious acts of violence (+9%), which were driven up by suicide attempts (+22%), rape (+5%) and serious bodily injury (+5%). Vehicle and electric bike thefts both rose by 15% as did threats and violence against public figures and members of the administration (+8%), which reached a record level in 2020.

During the first wave of the pandemic, crime numbers were down sharply. The number of

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Government agrees on laws to tackle high Swiss prices

20 days ago

This article was first published on 365 club.ch

Residents of Switzerland have long grumbled about the nation’s high prices compared to neighbouring countries.  On 19 March 2021, the government moved a step closer to removing two of the competitive barriers inflating Swiss prices.

© Ocskay Mark | Dreamstime.comThere are many factors behind Switzerland’s high prices. Chief among them are exclusive import arrangements that allow foreign brand owners to force higher prices on to Switzerland’s consumers and geo-filtering on the internet.

How it worksForeign brand owners strike exclusive deals with a single wholesale importer and force all retailers in Switzerland to buy from that single source at a price fixed by the brand owner and the importer. Swiss retailers sometimes try to get

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Swiss upper house votes to raise pension age for women

24 days ago

© Germana Marengo | Dreamstime.com As Switzerland’s population ages the number of people paid state pension is rising relative to the number of workers funding it. Since 2014, more has been paid out than has been paid in. The most effective way to fix this imbalance is to raise the pension age. If the average …

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The invisible lock invented in Switzerland

25 days ago

Researchers in Switzerland have developed an invisible lock made of a printed transparent electronic material.

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The transparent touch sensitive material can be placed anywhere, which means, unlike a traditional keypad, making it very difficult for an intruder to even know where to press.

The team at Switzerland’s EMPA research centre is focused on developing thin film photovoltaics. The polymer film has electronic circuits made from conductive metal oxide-based nanoparticle ink printed on it. The printing can be done with a hi-tech inkjet printer.

The material cannot be seen by the human eye and can be positioned anywhere, such as above a door hinge, says Evgeniia Gilshtein, the lead researcher on the project. The circuits can just as easily be positioned on a

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Swiss upper house votes to raise pension age for women

25 days ago

As Switzerland’s population ages the number of people paid state pension is rising relative to the number of workers funding it. Since 2014, more has been paid out than has been paid in.

© Germana Marengo | Dreamstime.comThe most effective way to fix this imbalance is to raise the pension age. If the average life expectancy of a retiree is 15 years, then raising the pension age by one year will cut the cost by nearly 7%.

Switzerland is one of a few countries that still has a lower retirement age for women (64) than it does for men (65). So an obvious step towards fixing the pension funding gap caused by an ageing population is align the state pension age to 65 for both men and women.

This week, the government came one step closer to making this change when the Council of States,

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Flu deaths surprisingly rare in Switzerland

March 15, 2021

© Udra11 | Dreamstime.com Sometimes comparisons are drawn between the seasonal flu and Covid-19. But how many die from the seasonal flu in a typical year? According to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, surprisingly few. Over the ten years from 2009 to 2018, an annual average of 1181 people died from the flu in Switzerland, according …

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Farming lobby hurting Swiss chocolate sector, says industry association

March 14, 2021

© Phattha Intharakamhaeng | Dreamstime.com Swiss chocolate sales went into steep decline in 2020, according to ChocoSuisse, Switzerland’s chocolate industry association. The amount of chocolate produced in Switzerland in 2020 was 10% lower than in 2019 and sales revenue was down by 14.5%, a sharp drop. In 2020, Swiss chocolatiers produced around 180,000 tons, 20,000 …

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18% of Swiss hotel and restaurant businesses already closed down

March 12, 2021

A recently published survey run by Gastrosuisse, a hotel and restaurant industry association, suggests that 18.4% of businesses in the sector have already closed down due to the business disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

© Ralf Liebhold | Dreamstime.com18.4% of the businesses polled reported that they had already closed with no plans to reopen.

Without financial aid 23% reported that they will probably disappear. Only 34.9% said that they were certain they would reopen.

Many also reported that they did not qualify for aid. There are certain hurdles that must be cleared to qualify for government support. One is demonstrating that revenues have fallen by at least 40%. 27.4% were unable to demonstrate this. Another requirement is that the business must not have been

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Farming lobby hurting Swiss chocolate sector, says industry association

March 11, 2021

Swiss chocolate sales went into steep decline in 2020, according to ChocoSuisse, Switzerland’s chocolate industry association.

© Phattha Intharakamhaeng | Dreamstime.comThe amount of chocolate produced in Switzerland in 2020 was 10% lower than in 2019 and sales revenue was down by 14.5%, a sharp drop. In 2020, Swiss chocolatiers produced around 180,000 tons, 20,000 tons less than the year before and sales fell by CHF 260 million to CHF 1.53 billion.

The export business, which makes up 70% of sales, was particularly hard hit. The export volume decreased by 11.5% to 126,000 tonnes resulting is a corresponding revenue drop of 13.9%.

The volume of Swiss chocolate in the domestic market, which accounts for 30% of sales, fell by 6.9% and the corresponding sales by 15.1%. Swiss per

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Swiss parliament demands cabinet reopen restaurants and theatres

March 6, 2021

© Tetiana Soares | Dreamstime.com A recent parliamentary vote on whether to issue a formal request to the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, to reopen restaurants on 22 March 2021, found a majority of 97 to 90, according to Le Matin. The main parties supporting the demand were the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) and the PLR …

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Swiss parliament demands cabinet reopen restaurants and theatres

March 5, 2021

A recent parliamentary vote on whether to issue a formal request to the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, to reopen restaurants on 22 March 2021, found a majority of 97 to 90, according to Le Matin.

© Tetiana Soares | Dreamstime.comThe main parties supporting the demand were the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) and the PLR (FDP). The Socialist and Green parties were against it.

The formal demand to the Federal Council stipulates:

Increased testing and vaccinationAn end to the gathering limit of 5 people A reopening of restaurants, sports and cultural establishments on 22 March 2021A plan to control spread that doesn’t involve these restrictionsThose in favour of the demand point to inconsistencies in the current restrictions, such as crowded train platforms but empty

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Record fall in Swiss hotel occupancy in 2020

February 26, 2021

© Tanya Keisha | Dreamstime.com In 2020, the number of overnight stays in Swiss hotels fell by 40% to 23.7 million, a fall of 15.8 million nights compared to 2019. The fall, driven by Covid-19, is the largest fall in overnight stays in Switzerland since the end of the 1950s, according to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical …

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Low-income households had lower Covid-19 rates but suffered worse economically

February 25, 2021

The economic impact of the Covid-​19 pandemic was unequal, hitting low-income households far harder than those on high incomes, according to a study published by the KOF Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zurich.

© Nikiforov Oleg | Dreamstime.comInfection rates rise with incomeMore people in the higher income range reported being infected with Covid-19 than those in lower income groups. Among those with incomes below CHF 4,000 (US$ 4,400), 4% said they had tested positive and a further 8% reported symptoms but no positive test. However, in households with incomes above CHF 16,000, (US$ 17,600) 8% had tested positive and a further 8% reported symptoms.

Income down most at bottomThe study found that those with household incomes of less than CHF 4,000 a month had seen income drop by an

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Record fall in Swiss hotel occupancy in 2020

February 24, 2021

In 2020, the number of overnight stays in Swiss hotels fell by 40% to 23.7 million, a fall of 15.8 million nights compared to 2019.

© Tanya Keisha | Dreamstime.comThe fall, driven by Covid-19, is the largest fall in overnight stays in Switzerland since the end of the 1950s, according to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office.

Plummeting hotel stays were driven mainly by a large slump in foreign visitors. Hotel nights spent by Swiss tourists dropped by only 8.6% (-1.5 million). However, nights spent by foreign visitors plummeted by 66.1% (-14.3 million).

Overall, the worst month was April 2020. Compared to April 2019, 96.2% fewer nights were spent during April 2020. March (-68.2%), May (-95.3%), June (-88.4%), July (-70.1%), August (-60.9%), September (-69%), October (-78.1%),

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Switzerland’s record breaking deficit in 2020

February 21, 2021

© Marekusz | Dreamstime.com Switzerland’s federal accounts ended 2020 with a record-breaking deficit of CHF 15.8 billion. The deficit was caused by the pandemic. An unexpected CHF 3.6 billion fall in revenue combined with net CHF 12.5 billion in largely unplanned expenses combined to take the overall result CHF 16.1 billion below the expected positive …

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Poverty in Switzerland: fresh data on those struggling to get by

February 20, 2021

© Sam Wordley | Dreamstime.com In 2019, the poverty line in Switzerland was CHF 27,348 (US$ 30,500) for a single person and CHF 47,712 (US$ 53,200) for a couple with two young children. The figures are calculated by SKOS based on the cost of living in Switzerland. People with incomes below these levels in Switzerland …

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Sharp rise in Swiss trade

February 19, 2021

Swiss trade rose sharply in January 2021. However, one industry dominated and masked falls in other sectors.

© Alexandr Blinov | Dreamstime.comAfter falling in December 2020, seasonally adjusted Swiss exports rose 5.4% to CHF 18.9 billion in January 2021, according to recently published figures. In addition, imports were up 3.3% to CHF 15.3 billion.

90% of the rise in exports was due to a rise in pharmaceutical exports, which rose by 9.7%. Exports were also up in the machine and electronics (+3.1%) and metals (3.3%) sectors with declines in the watch (-0.3%), jewellery (-6.8%), textiles (-5.3%) and vehicles (-6.4%) sectors.

The pharmaceutical sector accounted for the lion’s share (75%) of the rise imports, which were up 9.1%. Imports were also up in the machine and electronics

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Swiss residential property prices on the rise

February 19, 2021

After falling by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2020, average Swiss residential property prices have rebounded, rising in every quarter since to deliver an annual 2020 increase of 2.5%.

© Stbernardstudio | Dreamstime.comAverage residential property prices rose by 1.4% in Q2, by 0.2% in Q3 and by 2.3% in the final quarter of 2020.

Across the year, the prices of single family dwellings (+2.8%) rose more than the price of apartments (+2.2%). The biggest gainers were single family homes in large agglomerations (+4.4%) and rural locations (+3.0%). Properties gaining the least were apartments in small towns outside large agglomerations (+1.4%) and single family homes in mid-sized towns (+1.6%).

A map produced by the Federal Statistical Office shows how much prices rose in every Swiss

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Swiss unemployment jumps exceeding EU rate in Lake Geneva region

February 19, 2021

The rate of unemployment in Switzerland in the 4th quarter of 2020 was 4.9%, up from 3.9% in the 4th quarter of 2019. The same figures for the EU were 6.6% (Q4 2109) and 7.5% (Q4 2020).

© Sergiomonti | Dreamstime.comUnemployment rates were highest among those aged 15-24 (7.3%) and 25-39 (5.4%). Those aged 40-54 (4.6%) and 55-64 (3.9%) had the lowest rates. The statistics don’t cover workers older than 64.

In the 4th quarter of 2020, Swiss nationals (3.9%) fared better than foreigners (8.5%) and men (4.8%) better than women (5.5%).

There were significant regional differences. Regional rates ranged from 3.0% (central Switzerland) to 7.9% (Lake Geneva). Zurich (4.7%) and Ticino (6.8%) were in the middle. The rate of unemployment in the Lake Geneva region (7.9%) in Q4 2020 was higher

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Switzerland breaks deficit record in 2020

February 19, 2021

Switzerland’s federal accounts ended 2020 with a record-breaking deficit of CHF 15.8 billion. The deficit was caused by the pandemic.

© Marekusz | Dreamstime.comAn unexpected CHF 3.6 billion fall in revenue combined with net CHF 12.5 billion in largely unplanned expenses combined to take the overall result CHF 16.1 billion below the expected positive net result of CHF 0.3 billion to deliver a deficit of CHF 15.8 billion for the year.

Pandemic-related expenditure amounted to CHF 14.7 billion in 2020. The largest expenditure items were partial unemployment working compensation (10.8 billion) and COVID-19 loss of earnings compensation (2.2 billion).

Initial forecasts included an extra CHF 31 billion of federal government spending rather than CHF 14.7 billion. However, the economic

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Poverty in Switzerland: fresh data on those struggling to get by

February 19, 2021

In 2019, the poverty line in Switzerland was CHF 27,348 (US$ 30,500) for a single person and CHF 47,712 (US$ 53,200) for a couple with two young children. The figures are calculated by SKOS based on the cost of living in Switzerland. People with incomes below these levels in Switzerland are considered to by living in poverty.

© Sam Wordley | Dreamstime.comIn 2019, 8.7% of Switzerland’s population was living on less that these amounts, up 0.8 percentage points from 7.9% in 2018.

Those most likely to living below the poverty line were people over 65 (13.6%), single mothers (19.3%), and the unemployed (24.6%). Certain groups of foreigners were more likely to be below the poverty line than average. Swiss nationals (6.6%) and foreigners from western and northern Europe (4.8%) were less

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Using Swiss tax money to promote meat should stop, argue environmentalists

February 12, 2021

Every year, Swiss tax payers contribute CHF 5.4 million to the promotion and marketing of Swiss meat.

© Tyler Olson | Dreamstime.comThe money is paid to Proviande, a meat industry association, and it is used to promote and market meat produced in Switzerland.

For environmentalists, using public funds to promote and advertise an environmentally damaging product makes no sense. Meat production has a large carbon footprint, and average meat consumption in Switzerland, at around 50 kg per person per year, remains high.

Jean Pierre Grin, a farmer and member of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), remains in favour of the marketing subsidy. He thinks the money is needed to support Swiss meat producers in the face of imports according to RTS. In addition, he argues that animals are

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