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Another month of falling prices in Switzerland

3 days ago

Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes are 17% cheaper – © Maksudkr | Dreamstime.com
Swiss prices fell by 0.1% in November 2019, the sixth time in 12 months. But not everything is cheaper.
Prices fell in December 2018 (-0.3%), January 2019 (-0.3), July (-0.5), September (-0.1), October (-0.2%) and November 2019 (-0.1). When combined with the low inflation experienced in the other 6 months the 12-month price drop is -0.1%.
Not everything has gone down in price however. Swiss inflation calculations include price movements across a wide basket of goods and services.
The prices of some things have dropped far more than 0.1% over the last 12 months. Likewise, some things have risen in price.
Prices rose or remained steady for clothing and footwear (+3.3%), housing

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Some Swiss import duties could be axed

4 days ago

© Tatsiana Hendzel | Dreamstime.com Swiss import duties on a number of industrial products might disappear if a plan put forward by Guy Parmelin, Switzerland’s economic’s minister, is approved by the National Council, Switzerland’s parliament. The changes are expected to benefit businesses and consumers by around CHF 860 million a year. On the other hand, …

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Switzerland’s skilled worker shortage worsens

5 days ago

© Bigapplestock | Dreamstime.com At 30 September 2019, Switzerland had 79,000 job vacancies and 225,000 unemployed workers. This combination of unemployment and job vacancies can largely be explained by two things. The first is frictional unemployment, the period spent in between jobs. This typically increases when there is a lot of job changing. The second …

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Another month of falling prices in Switzerland

7 days ago

Swiss prices fell by 0.1% in November 2019, the sixth time in 12 months. But not everything is cheaper.

Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes are 17% cheaper – © Maksudkr | Dreamstime.comPrices fell in December 2018 (-0.3%), January 2019 (-0.3), July (-0.5), September (-0.1), October (-0.2%) and November 2019 (-0.1). When combined with the low inflation experienced in the other 6 months the 12-month price drop is -0.1%.

Not everything has gone down in price however. Swiss inflation calculations include price movements across a wide basket of goods and services.

The prices of some things have dropped far more than 0.1% over the last 12 months. Likewise, some things have risen in price.

Prices rose or remained steady for clothing and footwear (+3.3%), housing (+0.0%), recreation

Read More »

Some Swiss import duties could be axed

8 days ago

Swiss import duties on a number of industrial products might disappear if a plan put forward by Guy Parmelin, Switzerland’s economic’s minister, is approved by the National Council, Switzerland’s parliament, according to RTS.

© Tatsiana Hendzel | Dreamstime.comThe changes are expected to benefit businesses and consumers by around CHF 860 million a year. On the other hand, the government will miss out on collecting roughly CHF 500 million a year of revenue from import duties.

Products covered by the plan include cars, clothing, household appliances, bicycles, healthcare products and a number of other industrial products. On average these products attract duty of 1.8%. Clothing is taxed at 4%.

Sophie Michaud-Gigon, a representative of FRC, a consumer association, told RTS that

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Switzerland’s skilled worker shortage worsens

8 days ago

At 30 September 2019, Switzerland had 79,000 job vacancies and 225,000 unemployed workers.

© Bigapplestock | Dreamstime.comThis combination of unemployment and job vacancies can largely be explained by two things. The first is frictional unemployment, the period spent in between jobs. This typically increases when there is a lot of job changing. The second is a skills mismatch. Employers cannot find the skills they need among those seeking work.

A recent report by the human resources firm Adecco and Zurich University identifies the occupations, among 32, where Switzerland’s skills shortages are most acute and where there is an oversupply of workers.

The skilled worker shortage index ranks occupations based on the ratio of advertised vacancies to the number of jobs seekers in an

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Swiss foreign work permit quotas maintained for 2020

9 days ago

Every year, Switzerland sets quotas for the number of work visas it issues to citizens outside the EU and EFTA.
This week the government announced it would maintain the quota of 8,500 permits that was in place in 2018.
In addition, it confirmed an earlier deal it struck with the UK to issue up to 3,500 work visas to British citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The 8,500 quota is made up of 4,500 B-permits for stays over one year, and 4,000 short-term L-permits for short term contracts between 3 and 12 months.
The quota for British citizens is comprised of 2,100 B-permits and 1,400 short-term L-permits.
Limiting the number of non-EU and EFTA workers been a political hot potato in recent years. Following a successful referendum on 9 February 2014 to curb the

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1 in 10 Swiss hospitals facing financial difficulty

11 days ago

© Aris Suwanmalee | Dreamstime.com Around one hospital in ten in Switzerland could end up in financial difficultly, according to a report by PWC. In addition, 37 of the 44 hospitals surveyed will not be profitable enough to remain competitive over the next five to ten years, predict the authors of the report. The shift …

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Number of jobs reaches all-time high in Switzerland

12 days ago

© Joerg Stoeber | Dreamstime.com Unemployment rose in the third quarter of 2019, however, there have never been more jobs in Switzerland. The total number of jobs in Switzerland rose to 5.137 million at 30 September 2019, a level never seen before. The figure was 1.3% higher than at 30 September 2018 and 0.3% higher …

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Swiss foreign work permit quotas maintained for 2020

12 days ago

Every year, Switzerland sets quotas for the number of work visas it issues to citizens outside the EU and EFTA.

This week the government announced it would maintain the quota of 8,500 permits that was in place in 2018.

In addition, it confirmed an earlier deal it struck with the UK to issue up to 3,500 work visas to British citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The 8,500 quota is made up of 4,500 B-permits for stays over one year, and 4,000 short-term L-permits for short term contracts between 3 and 12 months.

The quota for British citizens is comprised of 2,100 B-permits and 1,400 short-term L-permits.

Limiting the number of non-EU and EFTA workers been a political hot potato in recent years. Following a successful referendum on 9 February 2014 to curb the rate of

Read More »

1 in 10 Swiss hospitals facing financial difficulty

13 days ago

Around one hospital in ten in Switzerland could end up in financial difficultly, according to a report by PWC.

© Aris Suwanmalee | Dreamstime.comIn addition, 37 of the 44 hospitals surveyed will not be profitable enough to remain competitive over the next five to ten years, predict the authors of the report.

The shift towards more outpatient care instead of more expensive hospitalisation is still a work in progress. Substantial disincentives to make the shift have not been eliminated or in some cases have even exacerbated, according to PWC.

New guidelines introduced in 2012 by SwissDRG, which set fixed prices for certain treatments, have not been rolled out nationwide. Where they have been they have hit the finances of some inefficient hospitals that have been unable to cover

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Number of jobs reaches all-time high in Switzerland

13 days ago

Unemployment rose in the third quarter of 2019, however, there have never been more jobs in Switzerland.

© Joerg Stoeber | Dreamstime.comThe total number of jobs in Switzerland rose to 5.137 million at 30 September 2019, a level never seen before. The figure was 1.3% higher than at 30 September 2018 and 0.3% higher than 30 June 2019.

And the rise wasn’t due to shift towards part time jobs. On a full time equivalent basis (FTE) there were 1.1% more jobs at 30 September 2019 than there were at 30 September 2018.

The number of unfilled jobs rose by 6,897 to 79,030 between 30 September 2018 and 30 September 2019.

Job numbers grew in all of the main economic regions. The Lake Geneva region (+2.2%) and Zurich (+1.8%) led the growth. Further back were Northwest Switzerland (+1.2%),

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Federal Council paves way for VAT refund on Billag fee

13 days ago

© Viktoriia Novokhatska | Dreamstime.com At its meeting on 27 November 2019, the Federal Council set out its plan for the refund of value-added tax (VAT) on Switzerland’s radio and television licence, formerly known as Billag. Between 2010 and 2015, VAT was charged on Swiss television and radio licences. The Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, …

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Federal Council paves way for VAT refund on Billag fee

14 days ago

At its meeting on 27 November 2019, the Federal Council set out its plan for the refund of value-added tax (VAT) on Switzerland’s radio and television licence, formerly known as Billag.

© Viktoriia Novokhatska | Dreamstime.comBetween 2010 and 2015, VAT was charged on Swiss television and radio licences.

The Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, has stated in two judgments that no VAT may be levied on the licence and that the federal government must repay the VAT charged between 2010 and 2015.

However, before the money can be refunded the government must create a law enabling it.

This week, the Federal Council decided CHF 50 francs should automatically be refunded to all of the 3 to 4 million households affected, up to a maximum total payout of CHF 185 million.

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How an average Swiss household spends its income

20 days ago

Recently published figures show that average (mean) monthly household income in Switzerland in 2017 was CHF 9,917 (US$ 9,963). This is equal to CHF 119,004 (US$ 119,554) a year.

Income is made up of salary income (CHF 6,320; 64%), freelance income (CHF 984; 10%), investment income (CHF 494; 5%) and money from the government (CHF 2,119; 21%) – pensions and other welfare and transfers.

The largest item of expenditure is taxes and compulsory insurance (CHF 2,933; 30%), although this includes compulsory salary pension payments, so it is probably more meaningful to separate this figure into CHF 2,588 (26%) of taxes and unavoidable insurance payments and CHF 405 (4%) of pension savings.

The next largest items of spending are housing and energy (CHF 1,463; 15%), transport (CHF 742;

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Most Swiss prefer home grown eggs, meat and dairy

23 days ago

© Swisshippo | Dreamstime.com Recently published statistics suggest most Swiss prefer home grown animal products. Three quarters (75%) of those surveyed said they preferred Swiss eggs and more than half preferred Swiss meat (51%) and dairy products (59%). Reasons for preferring local animal products were to support local farmers (nearly 25%), low food miles (15%) …

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Most Swiss prefer home grown eggs, meat and dairy

26 days ago

Recently published statistics suggest most Swiss prefer home grown animal products.

© Swisshippo | Dreamstime.comThree quarters (75%) of those surveyed said they preferred Swiss eggs and more than half preferred Swiss meat (51%) and dairy products (59%).

Reasons for preferring local animal products were to support local farmers (nearly 25%), low food miles (15%) and product quality (15%).

40% considered Swiss agriculture to be trustworthy and 33% thought it was customer centred.

However, only 15% were convinced it was competitive and only 22% unequivocally thought it respected the environment. The percentage strongly agreeing that Swiss produce respected the environment fell 11 points from 33% to 22%.

The survey, done by Demoscope in January 2019, was based on 1,006

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40% of over 50s in Switzerland want to work beyond retirement, suggests survey

26 days ago

40% of workers currently aged between 50 and 64 would like to continue working beyond retirement age, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte.

© Kurhan | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland’s growing demographic imbalance is not only putting pressure on Switzerland’s social security system but also reducing its pool of labour. According to UBS, by 2030, the Swiss labour market will face a shortfall of between 230,000 and 500,000 workers.

Labour market participation decreases significantly starting at 60. Many older workers are leaving the labour market before statutory retirement age, even if a majority are doing so voluntarily. The 65-69 year-old age group have a relatively low participation in Switzerland (23%) compared to the OECD average (27%).

Deloitte Switzerland surveyed of

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Unemployment rises in Switzerland but falls across the EU

26 days ago

Switzerland’s low unemployment rate is the envy of many EU countries. However, in the third quarter of 2019, Switzerland underperformed the EU.

© Suriel Ramirez Zaldivar | Dreamstime.comRecent statistics show Switzerland’s overall rate of unemployment in the third quarter rose from 4.2% (Q3 2018) to 4.6% (Q3 2019) – these figures are based on the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment. The lower measure typically used in Switzerland includes only those still registered with the unemployment office.

The same unemployment figures for the EU (EU-28) were 6.5% (Q3 2018) and 6.2% (Q3 2019).

In contrast to Switzerland’s worsening unemployment figures was a rise in the percentage of its population working (+0.3%).

More detailed employment figures suggest where

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Parts of Switzerland becoming too hot for middle eastern tourists

27 days ago

While the latest statistics show a rise in the number of tourists visiting Switzerland over the summer, tourist numbers from some countries fell significantly.

© Narith Thongphasuk | Dreamstime.comOverall, the number of visitors to Switzerland in June, July and August rose by 3.9% compared to 2018. However, the numbers from Saudi Arabia (-8.7%) and the UAE (-13.4%) were down significantly in 2019.

Some tourism experts think high summer temperatures are to blame. Many middle eastern tourists go on holiday to escape blistering heat at home. Reports in the media of heatwaves in Switzerland are therefore dissuading travellers from these hot places, they say.

The Swiss regions where middle eastern summer tourist numbers were hit hardest in 2019 are Montreux (-28%), Geneva (-5%),

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More than 100 members of Extinction Rebellion convicted in Switzerland

November 10, 2019

Extinction Rebellion Switzerland’s Facebook cover photo
In September 2019, groups of people belonging to the group Extinction Rebellion blocked two road bridges in Lausanne.
Local police cleared the bridges by removing, in some cases carrying, protesters away.
On 7 November 2019, 117 of the people involved in the bridge protests were convicted and fined for breaking Switzerland’s penal code, according to RTS. One person was convicted of violence and the rest of obstruction.
Convicted members of the group contacted by the newspaper 24 Heures, said they planned to challenge their convictions in court.
In addition, the newspaper mentioned a possible protest at Geneva Airport on Saturday 16 November 2019, however any plans for an airport protest by the group remain

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French-speaking cantons biggest winners from next year’s fiscal transfers

November 8, 2019

The amount of money paid by “rich” cantons to “poor” ones will rise by CHF 61 million to CHF 5.3 billion in 2020, according to a recent government press release.

© Swisshippo | Dreamstime.com The only French-speaking canton paying will be Geneva. All of the rest will see the sums they receive rise compared to 2019. In 2020, Geneva will pay CHF 275 million, down slightly from the CHF 300 million it paid in 2019.

In 2020, the canton of Fribourg will receive CHF 387 million (CHF 381 million in 2019), Vaud CHF 72 million (CHF 66 million in 2019), Valais CHF 759 million (CHF 730 million in 2019), Neuchâtel CHF 238 million (CHF 173 million in 2019) and the Jura CHF 168 million (CHF 166 million in 2019).

Bern will receive less in 2020: CHF 1.10 billion compared to CHF 1.19 billion in

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Drug spending continues to explode in Switzerland

November 8, 2019

Last week, the government announced that it had shaved CHF 100 million off the cost of drug purchases from 1 January 2020.

© Vitaly Iskakov | Dreamstime.com This week numbers obtained by RTS from Curafutura, a health insurance association, show drug spending rose CHF 420 million from CHF 6.9 billion to CHF 7 billion between October 2018 and September 2019 and the same period 12 month a year before.

Over the last five years spending on drugs has risen 26%. Savings are not keeping up with runaway costs.

The challenge is twofold. The government says that new expensive treatments are constantly being added, new cancer treatments in particular. According to Andreas Schiesser, a spokesperson for Curafutura, the discounts demanded by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) are too

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Negative rates might go lower, says Swiss National Bank chairman

November 8, 2019

Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Swiss National Bank
Thomas Jordan, chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper recently that central bank interest rates might need to go further into negative territory.
Responding to growing criticism of negative central bank interest rates, Jordan said negative interest rates could continue and a further reduction is possible.
The SNB did not introduce negative interest rates to harm people, said the SNB chairman. However, he still considers the Swiss franc to be highly valued.
Jordan rejected the idea that the public might withdraw their money from banks if interest rates fall further. He thinks the costs and risks associated with storing cash are higher than the costs of current negative

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Geneva to ban Uber if it doesn’t change its operating model

November 8, 2019

© Oleksandr Lutsenko | Dreamstime.com After a legal analyis the government of the canton of Geneva has decided that drivers of the ride hailing service are employees rather than independent contractors, effectively banning Uber from operating under its current model. In an interview with RTS, Mauro Poggia, a lawyer and Geneva state councillor, said that …

Read More »

More than 100 members of Extinction Rebellion convicted in Switzerland

November 8, 2019

In September 2019, groups of people belonging to the environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion blocked two road bridges in Lausanne.

Extinction Rebellion Switzerland’s Facebook cover photoLocal police cleared the bridges by removing, in some cases carrying, protesters away.

On 7 November 2019, 117 of the people involved in the bridge protests were convicted and fined for breaking Switzerland’s penal code, according to RTS. One person was convicted of violence and the rest of obstruction.

Convicted members of the group contacted by the newspaper 24 Heures, said they planned to challenge their convictions in court.

In addition, the newspaper mentioned a possible protest at Geneva Airport on Saturday 16 November 2019, however any plans for an airport protest by the group

Read More »

Geneva to ban Uber if it doesn’t change its operating model

November 7, 2019

After a legal analyis the government of the canton of Geneva has decided that drivers of the ride hailing service are employees rather than independent contractors, effectively banning Uber from operating under its current model.

© Oleksandr Lutsenko | Dreamstime.com In an interview with RTS, Mauro Poggia, a lawyer and Geneva state councillor, said that Uber is a transport company and as such must employ its drivers.

Employees are treated differently to contractors. One of the key differences is that employers must enroll employees in public and private pensions and unemployment insurance. Contractors, on the other hand, get paid according to their contract and must take care of their own pensions and unemployment insurance.

Uber disagrees with the government’s analysis. It

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Negative rates might go lower, says Swiss National Bank chairman

November 7, 2019

Thomas Jordan, chairman of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper recently that central bank interest rates might need to go further into negative territory.

Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Swiss National Bank Responding to growing criticism of negative central bank interest rates, Jordan said negative interest rates could continue and a further reduction is possible.

The SNB did not introduce negative interest rates to harm people, said the SNB chairman. However, he still considers the Swiss franc to be highly valued.

Jordan rejected the idea that the public might withdraw their money from banks if interest rates fall further. He thinks the costs and risks associated with storing cash are higher than the costs of current negative interest rates.

Read More »

Swiss government cuts drug prices by 100 million francs

November 3, 2019

© Tero Vesalainen Dreamstime.com Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) recently announced it had reduced the price Swiss healthcare providers and patients will pay for 257 drugs by 16.3%. These lower prices, which take affect on 1 December 2019, are expected to save CHF 100 million annually. The FOPH looked at the prices of …

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