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Swiss inflation remains stable in July 2022

8 days ago

Figures published by Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) on 3 August 2022 show annual inflation running at 3.4% in July, the same rate as June.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.comSwitzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) remained stable in July 2022 compared with the previous month, and 3.4% higher compared with the same month of the previous year, said FSO.

Over the month, falling prices of clothing and footwear, household appliances, oil products and alcoholic drinks were offset by the rising cost of fresh produce and energy in general.

So far Switzerland has been spared the high inflation experienced in nations like the US and the UK. On 4 August 2022, the Bank of England (BOE) announced a forecast of 13% inflation across the UK in 2022. In response the BOE raised

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No money likely from Swiss National Bank after large loss

14 days ago

Like most central banks the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is tasked with monetary stability. However, in the process it can inadvertently generate large profits and losses.
SNB – BernWhen monetary policy is expansionist and the resulting assets held by the SNB rise in value it can generate large profits as it has over the last few years. However, when the Swiss franc strengthens and asset values slump the bank can generate large losses as it did in the first half of 2022.
Over the first half of 2022, the SNB lost CHF 95.2 billion, the largest loss experienced in its more than 100 year history. Losses on assets denominated in foreign currencies reached CHF 97.4 billion.
Typically, such losses would be of little political interest. However, in Switzerland the central

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No money likely from Swiss National Bank after large loss

14 days ago

Like most central banks the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is tasked with monetary stability. However, in the process it can inadvertently generate large profits and losses.

SNB – BernWhen monetary policy is expansionist and the resulting assets held by the SNB rise in value it can generate large profits as it has over the last few years. However, when the Swiss franc strengthens and asset values slump the bank can generate large losses as it did in the first half of 2022.

Over the first half of 2022, the SNB lost CHF 95.2 billion, the largest loss experienced in its more than 100 year history. Losses on assets denominated in foreign currencies reached CHF 97.4 billion.

Typically, such losses would be of little political interest. However, in Switzerland the central bank distributes

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Switzerland may have passed 6th Covid peak

21 days ago

Data published this week on 19 July 2022, suggest that 6th wave Covid-19 infections in Switzerland may have peaked.
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com
Data published by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health show 46,099 new cases over the 7 days to 18 July 2022. Over the prior 7 days there were 55,339 cases. Recorded cases have dropped 17% week on week. In addition, the number of weekly hospitalisations has fallen from 429 to 227 and deaths from 28 to 18.
The peak of the 6th seems to have been reached, said Samia Hurst, a former vice-president of Switzerland’s Covid-19 task force, when interviewed by RTS.
However, even though the coronavirus is less reported by the media it has not disappeared, said Hurst. In addition, the virus has changed its behaviour

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Switzerland faces energy uncertainty like never before, says energy authority

21 days ago

This week, Benoît Revaz, head of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), said there is an unprecedented level of uncertainty in Europe concerning energy provision, reported RTS.

Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.comPrices have been seriously affected by the war in Ukraine and Switzerland has not been spared, said Revaz. We are now experiencing the first global energy crisis with Europe at the epicentre.

A central element of Revaz’s plan to get Switzerland through the crisis is reduced consumption and the need for an awareness campaign to encourage the population to cut energy use, something that should be in place by the end of August.

In addition, Switzerland is in the process of negotiating a deal with Germany to keep gas flowing and aims to start discussions with Italy.

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Men continue to dominate the leadership of state companies in Switzerland

21 days ago

An article published by RTS presents data that shows men outnumber women among the leaders of 20 of Switzerland’s 26 largest state affiliated companies.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.comLike in much of the developed world politicians in Switzerland are pushing to get more women into top spots. Switzerland’s Federal Council has said it aims to have 40% of leadership positions in state affiliated companies filled by women before 2023. Currently, this objective looks out of reach.

Out of the 26 companies in the RTS list there are 5 where women dominate. For example, at BGRB Holding SA, the holding company of RUAG, 80% of the leaders are women. One company, the Swiss National Museum, has a perfect 50/50 split between men and women in its leadership team. The other 20 companies have more

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Financial health of Swiss pension funds deteriorates in 2022

21 days ago

A recent report by the government that collected data from a sample of Swiss pension funds shows a significant deterioration in the financial health of Switzerland’s 2nd pillar pension funds over the first half of 2022. Inflation, higher interest rates and falling stock markets have hit the fortunes of the funds.

© Scottnodine | Dreamstime.comBy the end of June 2022, 285 of the funds included in the survey owed more than they were worth, a phenomenon known as under coverage. The average coverage ratio fell 15.2 percentage points from 118.5% to 103.4%.

The 285 pension funds with a funding hole made up 22% of the 1,324 2nd pillar pension funds surveyed. At the end of 2021 only 13 were in negative territory.

The change is down to negative investment returns. Many fund managers

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Swiss rush to buy wood as gas crisis looms

22 days ago

Despite the current heatwave residents of Switzerland have not forgotten about how they might heat themselves over winter. With gas shortages looming and persistently high heating oil and gas prices, some are stockpiling wood.

Photo by Skylar Kang on Pexels.comIncreased demand for wood is pushing prices higher. Wood prices have already risen 10%, according to RTS. Some vendors have never delivered such large quantities of wood during summer as they have this year.

We are selling wood as if it was December, said one vendor, who fears he will run out of wood to sell by winter. Freshly cut timber needs to be dried for two years before it can be burned. Burning damp wood is highly polluting and produces less heat. But this two year lead time means there is no way to respond to a sharp

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Switzerland abandons 1 franc house offer

28 days ago

In 2019, the village of Gambarogno in Ticino offered abandoned houses known as “rustici” to anyone prepared to renovate them for 1 franc. Last week, the scheme ended without anyone taking up the offer.

© Adriana Stampfl | Dreamstime.comThe scheme was inspired by similar schemes in Italy. However the Swiss offer ran into challenges. Some were practical and others administrative.

While some rustici are supplied with water, there is no electricity and gas and they are located far from roads and public transport. Getting there requires 45 minutes of walking.

The final nail in the coffin was a recent decision by the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) to not allow the houses to be rebuilt. Thomas Kappeler, head of ARE told the newspaper Blick that they saw the bad state of

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Switzerland unwelcoming to expats, shows survey

28 days ago

A survey of expats published on 12 July 2022 ranks Switzerland 43rd out of 52 nations on ease of settling in.

© Niccolo Pontigia | Dreamstime.comThe definition of an expat is based on the sample used in the Expat Insider 2022 survey. This group was 46 years old on average, more female (52%) than male (47%), most likely to have moved to Switzerland for work (51%) and was well paid – 56% earned US$ 100,000 or more. Close to a third (31%) worked in either IT, healthcare or pharmaceuticals.

Overall, Switzerland ranked 19th out of 52 destinations in the Expat Insider 2022 survey with 76% of expats reporting they were happy with their life in Switzerland, compared to 71% globally.

While Switzerland ranked well on the quality of life index (6th) and scored above-average in the working

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The online retail fraud made possible by Swiss billing system

July 12, 2022

In Switzerland it is possible to order goods online without paying up front. Retailers will send orders with a payment slip included with the goods. Fraudsters are exploiting this quirk of Swiss postal retail.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
Fraudsters order goods online pretending to be someone else. The goods are then shipped without the need to provide any payment details. The fraudster then waits for the order to be delivered and takes it from the unsuspecting victim’s mailbox. Eventually, the victim gets a payment reminder for something they never ordered and which appears to have never arrived.
In French-speaking Switzerland around a thousand complaints related to the practice were made last year, according to an investigation by RTS.
Payment after

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The online retail fraud made possible by Swiss billing system

July 9, 2022

In Switzerland it is possible to order goods online without paying up front. Retailers will send orders with a payment slip included with the goods. Fraudsters are exploiting this quirk of Swiss postal retail.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.comFraudsters order goods online pretending to be someone else. The goods are then shipped without the need to provide any payment details. The fraudster then waits for the order to be delivered and takes it from the unsuspecting victim’s mailbox. Eventually, the victim gets a payment reminder for something they never ordered and which appears to have never arrived.

In French-speaking Switzerland around a thousand complaints related to the practice were made last year, according to an investigation by RTS.

Payment after delivery is very

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Switzerland gets green light to restart oldest nuclear power plant

July 8, 2022

On 1 July 2022, the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (FNSI) gave a green light for the restart of Beznau 1, Switzerland’s oldest nuclear reactor.

Beznau 1 – Image : AxpoThe reactor, which entered operation in 1969, was shut down on 29 April 2022 for planned annual maintenance. During the work the fuel assembly was replaced, said FNSI. The work was done by more than 400 people including local and international nuclear experts.

Beznau 1, Switzerland first operation nuclear reactor, started operating in 1969. According to owner Axpo, the reactor produces around 3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which is enough to power 650,000 four-person households.

Adding back in 3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year to the Swiss grid will help with looming

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Nearly 1 in 6 lives in a household with outstanding debts in Switzerland

July 8, 2022

Even before high inflation hit people’s pockets many Swiss households were over extended. In 2020, almost one in six residents lived in a household with debt arrears, according to data released this week by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
The most common overdue payments were taxes (7.5%), health insurance premiums (5.5%), phone bills (4.1%), utility bills (3.4%), credit cards and other loans (2.7%) and rent or mortgage payments (2.3%). In addition, 6.5% of the population was behind on the payment of other bills not included in these categories.
Households with outstanding tax payments (7.5%) were more likely to be 18-24 years old (11.9%), be from southern Europe (12.0%), have only high school education (10.2%) or be from

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Nearly 1 in 6 lives in a household with outstanding debts in Switzerland

July 7, 2022

Even before high inflation hit people’s pockets many Swiss households were over extended. In 2020, almost one in six residents lived in a household with debt arrears, according to data released this week by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.comThe most common overdue payments were taxes (7.5%), health insurance premiums (5.5%), phone bills (4.1%), utility bills (3.4%), credit cards and other loans (2.7%) and rent or mortgage payments (2.3%). In addition, 6.5% of the population was behind on the payment of other bills not included in these categories.

Households with outstanding tax payments (7.5%) were more likely to be 18-24 years old (11.9%), be from southern Europe (12.0%), have only high school education (10.2%) or be from French-speaking

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Swiss inflation up again in June 2022

July 7, 2022

On 4 July 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) published June inflation data, which show prices 3.4% higher than one year ago, well above the Swiss National Bank target of 2.0%.

Photo by Ahmed Muntasir on Pexels.comSwitzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.5% in June 2022, less than the 0.7% rise in May 2022. At the end of May 2022, annual inflation was 2.9%. By the end of June 2022 it was 3.4%, the highest since 1993.

Big drivers of rising prices continue to be higher energy prices and shortages of particular foods and raw materials.

The biggest price jumps during June 2022 were private hired transport (+62.7%), brassicas (+40.6%) – cabbage brocoli etc – and melons and grapes (+18.5%).

Over the 12 months to the end of June 2022 the prices of

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Swiss inflation up again in June 2022

July 7, 2022

Photo by Ahmed Muntasir on Pexels.com
On 4 July 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) published June inflation data, which show prices 3.4% higher than one year ago, well above the Swiss National Bank target of 2.0%.
Switzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.5% in June 2022, less than the 0.7% rise in May 2022. At the end of May 2022, annual inflation was 2.9%. By the end of June 2022 it was 3.4%, the highest since 1993.
Big drivers of rising prices continue to be higher energy prices and shortages of particular foods and raw materials.
The biggest price jumps during June 2022 were private hired transport (+62.7%), brassicas (+40.6%) – cabbage brocoli etc – and melons and grapes (+18.5%).
Over the 12 months to the end of June 2022 the

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Swiss debt enforcement offices aiding money laundering

July 6, 2022

In Switzerland, it is possible to pay delinquent debts with large sums of cash. Some criminals are using the loophole to launder money, reports Le Matin.
Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com
Swiss broadcaster SRF investigated several official debt enforcement offices across Switzerland and found that large sums of cash were passing through some of them. In Geneva, CHF 24 million of cash passed through its cantonal offices des poursuites in 2021, some of it dirty, according to SRF.
It also appears officials are aware of the problem. In Switzerland, banks must verify the provenance of any cash sums of more than CHF 15,000. However, there is no such requirement for Switzerland’s official debt enforcement offices.
This creates an obvious loophole. Criminals can take

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Swiss minister asks public to reduce their heating next winter

July 2, 2022

Switzerland faces a potential gas shortage next winter, warns Switzerland’s Federal Council. Reduced consumption or rationing cannot be ruled out, it warns.

© Katie Nesling | Dreamstime.comAt a press conference in Bern on Wednesday, economy minister Guy Parmelin said that there is a very real risk of a gas shortage over winter, reported RTS.

Around three quarters of the gas used in Switzerland comes from Germany, he said. If storage facilities cannot be filled as planned a shortage in Switzerland during winter cannot be excluded. In addition, Swiss gas companies must store gas abroad because there is nowhere in Switzerland to store it.

Gas is mainly used for home heating in Switzerland, which means households are likely to be affected if supplies run low. Because of this the

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Swiss debt enforcement offices aiding money laundering

July 1, 2022

In Switzerland, it is possible to pay delinquent debts with large sums of cash. Some criminals are using the loophole to launder money, reports Le Matin.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.comSwiss broadcaster SRF investigated several official debt enforcement offices across Switzerland and found that large sums of cash were passing through some of them. In Geneva, CHF 24 million of cash passed through its cantonal offices des poursuites in 2021, some of it dirty, according to SRF.

It also appears officials are aware of the problem. In Switzerland, banks must verify the provenance of any cash sums of more than CHF 15,000. However, there is no such requirement for Switzerland’s official debt enforcement offices.

This creates an obvious loophole. Criminals can take legal action

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Swiss franc worth more than the euro

July 1, 2022

© Cameracraft8 | Dreamstime.com This week, the Swiss franc rose to beyond parity with the euro as traders sought safe haven assets as concerns about risks to global growth grew. The Euro-Swiss Franc pair fell below 1.00 franc per euro during the morning of 29 June 2022 and remained below 1.00 until the morning of …

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Swiss Franc worth more than a Euro

July 1, 2022

This week, the Swiss franc rose to beyond parity with the euro as traders sought safe haven assets as concerns about risks to global growth grew.

© Cameracraft8 | Dreamstime.comThe Euro-Swiss Franc pair fell below 1.00 franc per euro during the morning of 29 June 2022 and remained below 1.00 until the morning of 1 July 2022 when the value of a euro exceed that of a franc. The pair has not been this low since 2015.

The rise has been driven by the franc’s haven status and the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) no nonsense approach to heading off inflation. With Swiss inflation at 2.9% (May 2022) the SNB decided to hike rates by 50 basis points and has signalled that it may go further if necessary.

By comparison, the European Central Bank (ECB) responded to eurozone inflation of 8.1%

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Higher federal tax deductions for health insurance announced

June 27, 2022

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com
The cost of Swiss health insurance has risen sharply over the years. However, the amount that can be deducted from income to calculate federal taxes has remained comparatively low. This week, Switzerland’s parliament voted in favour of closing the gap between the standardised health insurance tax deductions and what people actually pay, reported RTS.
The current deductions are CHF 1,700 for an adult, CHF 3,500 for a married couple and CHF 700 for a child. These are set to rise to CHF 3,000 for an adult, CHF 6,000 for a married couple and CHF 1,200 for a child.
The change is forecast to cost CHF 400 million in lost tax revenue, a CHF 315 million drop in federal tax income and a CHF 85 million fall in cantonal tax revenue.

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Concert tickets up to 77% more expensive in Switzerland

June 25, 2022

A survey found that the Swiss pay far more for concert tickets that their European neighbours. And the differences are significant, with Swiss price premiums ranging from 40% to 77% depending on the performer, reports RTS.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.comAccording to Bon à Savoir, the consumer association behind the survey, there are many examples of inflated Swiss concert prices. For example, the cheapest spots to see the Rolling Stones in Bern were CHF 170. In Munich, the same ticket cost CHF 115 and in Milan it cost CHF 120.  The price paid in Switzerland was 49% higher than in Munich. For other concerts the price premium was even greater. The cheapest Ed Sheeran tickets in Bern were up to 77% more expensive than they were in the best priced European location.

When Swiss

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Finance minister thinks Switzerland needs to cut public spending

June 25, 2022

Ueli Maurer, Switzerland’s finance minister, is concerned about Switzerland’s finances after a recent round of decisions to substantially increase public spending.

Swiss finance minister Ueli MaurerDuring June 2022, Switzerland’s parliament agreed to significant increases to spending on the army, healthcare and the environment. The situation is not sustainable Maurer told SRF.

In June, parliament agreed to boost military spending by CHF 2 billion, raising it from CHF 5 to CHF 7 billion between now and 2030. In addition, significant sums of money have been approved to boost healthcare in the face of rising health insurance premiums, and CHF 200 million has been earmarked for incentives to update building heating systems to cut emissions.

We must respect the debt brake, a mechanism

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Switzerland’s underground freight project gets start date

June 24, 2022

This week, a project to build an underground freight tunnel network stretching from Geneva to St Gallen, was given a start date of 1 August 2022 by the Federal Council, reported RTS.

The Cargo sous terrain (CST) project will connect Switzerland’s key hubs starting in 2031. CST aims to take the strain off the road and railway networks, reduce the environmental impact of transport and improve the delivery of goods across the country.

The project, which was launched in 2013, includes a three lane underground tunnel network with automated, driverless electric transport vehicles travelling at 30km an hour operating 24 hours a day. In addition, there will be a rapid overhead roof track will deliver smaller packages.

The first 70 km section of the tunnel network connecting

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Higher federal tax deductions for health insurance announced

June 23, 2022

The cost of Swiss health insurance has risen sharply over the years. However, the amount that can be deducted from income to calculate federal taxes has remained comparatively low. This week, Switzerland’s parliament voted in favour of closing the gap between the standardised health insurance tax deductions and what people actually pay, reported RTS.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.comThe current deductions are CHF 1,700 for an adult, CHF 3,500 for a married couple and CHF 700 for a child. These are set to rise to CHF 3,000 for an adult, CHF 6,000 for a married couple and CHF 1,200 for a child.

The change is forecast to cost CHF 400 million in lost tax revenue, a CHF 315 million drop in federal tax income and a CHF 85 million fall in cantonal tax revenue. The government is

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Psychotherapy to be covered by basic Swiss health insurance

June 17, 2022

From 1 July 2022, psychotherapy provided by trained psychologists will be reimbursed under Switzerland’s basic compulsory health insurance, reported RTS.

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.comTo qualify for reimbursement the service will need to be prescribed by a doctor and meet certain conditions. Pricing for the service remains to be set. The federal government and cantons still need to work out a price for reimbursable services. In the meantime, a provisional rate of CHF 154.80 will apply until 31 December 2024.

In addition, there will be limits on the number of sessions that are covered. A prescription will allow up to 15 with the possibility of a second prescription of a further 15. After 30 sessions a report will need to be made to the insurance company’s advisory doctor

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French speaking politicians not always understood in Bern

June 17, 2022

Switzerland has four national languages but most of the population is fluent in only one of them. When politicians come together in Bern they generally speak in their home language assuming others present understand them, even if they cannot really speak the language spoken. This week, Pierre Nebel, a reporter at RTS, explored the level of French comprehension among non-French speakers in the Federal Palace.

© William87 | Dreamstime.comThe most widely spoken language in Switzerland is German along with some regional dialect of it. The written language used in official documents is standard German – see Swiss German study. German and its Swiss dialects are the local language for 63% of the population. French (23%), Italian (8%) and Romansh (1%) trail well behind.

Switzerland’s

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No tax cuts on fuel in Switzerland

June 17, 2022

This week, Switzerland’s upper house rejected proposals to cut the tax on fuel to counteract the impact of sharp price rises, reported RTS.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.comNeighbours France, Germany, Italy and Austria have all cut the tax on fuel. But Switzerland hasn’t. The Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) has been pushing for one, arguing that its justified by the high financial burden of high fuel prices on commuters, middle class families, rural residents and businesses.

However, most other parties do not support fuel tax cuts. Some centrists argue that the move is not well targeted at those that really need it, while others, in particular the Green Party, think it reduces an incentive to cut fossil fuel consumption, which is damaging to the environment. On the left, the focus

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