Thursday September 21 2017
Swiss Trade Surplus Smallest in 4 Months
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss trade surplus narrowed 23.9 percent to CHF 2.17 billion in August 2017 from CHF 2.85 billion a year earlier and below market expectations of CHF 2.41 billion. It was the smallest trade surplus since April, as exports rose less than imports.

Year-on-year, exports rose by 3.9 percent to CHF 16.67 billion, mainly driven by an increase in sales of machinery and electronic metals (10.8 percent); watches (4.2 percent), and precision instruments (10 percent). In contrast, sales fell for:  jewelry and bijouterie (-16.1 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, sales increased to: China (50.2 percent), Singapore (12.3 percent); Hong Kong (16.6 percent); South Korea (11.9 percent), and Taiwan (21.4 percent). In contrast sales went down to  Japan (-26.2 percent); the US (-0.9 percent).
 
Imports rose 9.8 percent to CHF 14.49 billion, boosted by an increase in purchases of vehicles  (9.2 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (10.3 percent); chemical and pharmaceutical products (10.3 percent); machinery and electronics (12.3 percent); metals (12 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (4.1 percent). In contrast purchases decreased for watches (-18.5 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, purchases went up from : China (5.5 percent); Japan (29.2 percent), and EU countries (11.2 percent), mainly Germany (12.9 percent), France (22.8 percent), and Italy (7.5 percent). In contrast, purchases fell from: Singapore (-3.6 percent); the US (-8.7 percent).
 
In July 2017, the trade surplus was marginally revised to CHF 3.49 billion.

In the January-August period 2017, the trade surplus widened  to CHF 24.52 billion from CHF 24.06 billion in the same period of 2016.
 
 




Thursday September 14 2017
Switzerland Leaves Rates on Hold, Cuts Growth Forecasts
SNB | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss National Bank left its deposit interest rate at a record low of -0.75 percent on September 14th 2017 as widely expected, aiming to stabilize the inflation and support growth. Policymakers also noticed that the Swiss franc recent weakness against the euro and appreciation against the dollar has helped to reduce the overvaluation of the currency although it still remains highly valued. Growth forecasts for 2017 were lowered to under 1 percent from near 1.5 percent while inflation is seen slightly higher at 0.4 percent from 0.3 percent.

The target range for three-month libor was also kept between -1.25 percent and -0.25 percent. 

Excerpts from the SNB press release:

Since the last monetary policy assessment, the Swiss franc has weakened against the euro and appreciated against the dollar. Overall, this development is helping to reduce, to some extent, the significant overvaluation of the currency. The Swiss franc nevertheless remains highly valued, and the situation on the foreign exchange market is still fragile. The negative interest rate and the SNB’s willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange market as necessary therefore remain essential in order to reduce the attractiveness of Swiss franc investments and thus ease pressure on the currency.

Owing to the exchange rate situation, the conditional inflation forecast has been revised upwards slightly compared to June. For the current year, the forecast has risen marginally to 0.4%, from 0.3% in the previous quarter. For 2018, too, the SNB anticipates an inflation rate of 0.4%, compared to 0.3% last quarter. For 2019, it now expects inflation of 1.1%, compared to 1.0% last quarter. The conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that the three-month Libor remains at –0.75% over the entire forecast horizon.

In Switzerland, an analysis of the available economic indicators suggests that the moderate recovery is continuing. The Swiss economy is benefiting from the consolidation of global economic activity. Renewed momentum in goods exports is supporting industrial activity. Capacity utilisation is thus on the rise and companies are also becoming increasingly willing to invest. The situation on the labour market is gradually improving.

The recovery is less evident in the quarterly GDP estimates. Owing to weak GDP momentum in late 2016/early 2017, the current year is likely to see growth of just under 1.0%. At its monetary policy assessment in June, the SNB was still expecting growth of roughly 1.5%. The lower forecast is attributable to the weak GDP figures for the previous quarters. 

Overall, imbalances on the mortgage and real estate markets persist. While growth in mortgage lending remained relatively low in the second quarter, risks in the residential investment property segment increased. In addition, following a period of stabilisation, prices in the owner-occupied residential property segment rose again slightly. The SNB will continue to monitor developments on these markets closely, and will regularly reassess the need for an adjustment of the countercyclical capital buffer.




Friday September 08 2017
Swiss Jobless Rate Steady at 3.0% for 3rd Month
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss unadjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.0 percent in August of 2017, the same as in the prior two months. The figure remained at its lowest since October 2014 and in line with market consensus.

In August, there were 135,578 unemployed persons enrolled at the regional employment centers, about 1,652 more persons than in the prior month. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment decreased by 7,280 persons (-5.1 percent). 

The number of jobseekers reached 195,334, an increase of 111 persons compared with July while it decreased by 6,655 compared with the same period last year. 

Youth unemployment (15 to 24 year old) went up by 3,089 persons to 18,752. Compared to August 2016, this represents a decrease of 1,888 people (-9.1 percent). 

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate came in at 3.2 percent, the same as in the preceding four months.




Tuesday September 05 2017
Swiss Inflation Rate Climbs to 0.5% in August
Swiss Federal Statistical Office |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss consumer prices increased 0.5 percent year-on-year in August 2017, in line with market consensus and following a 0.3 percent rise in the previous month. It is the highest inflation rate since May, driven by higher prices of housing and utilities and transport.

Compared with August 2016, cost advanced faster for: housing and utilities (1.4 percent vs 1 percent in July); transport (1.5 percent vs 0.4 percent) and recreation and culture (1.4 percent vs 0.9 percent). In contrast, prices fell for food and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.4 percent vs 0.3 percent); health (-0.2 percent vs -0.6 percent) and were flat for restaurants and hotels (from 0.5 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, edged up to 0.4 percent from 0.3 percent in July.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were flat after declining 0.3 percent and matching market expectations. Prices went down for health (-0.2 percent); transport (-0.1 percent);recreation and culture (-0.5 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.2 percent); household equipment and maintenance (-0.6 percent) and restaurants and hotels (-0.1 percent).




Tuesday September 05 2017
Swiss Q2 GDP Growth Below Estimates
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss economy advanced 0.3 percent on quarter in the June quarter of 2017, following a downwardly revised 0.1 percent growth in the previous period while market estimated a a 0.5 percent growth. Expansion was mainly supported by domestic demand while investment growth slowed and net trade contributed negatively to the GDP.

In the three months to June, household consumption rose 0.2 percent, slightly faster than a 0.1 percent increase in the previous quarter. Spending went up particularly for health care, housing and energy as well as restaurants and hotels. Meantime, consumption fell for: clothing and footwear as well as furniture and interior equipment.

Government spending increased by 0.3 percent, following a 0.2 percent rise in the prior quarter.

Investment in equipment and software gained 0.3 percent, much slower than a 1.4 percent increase in Q1 while investment in construction expanded by 0.8 percent, after growing 0.2 percent in the previous period.

Exports of goods rose 0.5 percent, slowing sharply from a 5.7 percent rise in the previous quarter,  mainly supported by sales of precision instruments, watches and jewelry. On the other hand, exports of services declined by 0.3 percent, after a 9.3 percent drop in the March quarter. Meanwhile, imports jumped by 5.5 percent, swinging from a 0.8 percent fall in the previous period. Purchases increased mainly for chemical and pharmaceutical products. 

Year-on-year, the economy also grew by 0.3 percent, slowing sharply from a downwardly revised 0.6 percent expansion in the prior quarter and missing estimates of a 1.1 percent growth. It was the weakest yearly figure since the December quarter 2009.  





Tuesday August 22 2017
Swiss Trade Surplus Largest in 6 Months in July
Swiss Customs Administration | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss trade surplus widened 28.1 percent to CHF 3.51 billion in July 2017 from CHF 2.74 billion a year earlier and above market expectations of CHF 2.88 billion. It was the largest trade surplus since January as exports rose mainly boosted by sales to the US, China, Singapore and Hong Kong while imports fell. In June 2017, the trade balance was downwardly revised down to a CHF 2.76 billion surplus.

Year-on-year, exports rose by 4.3 percent to CHF 18.35 billion, mainly driven by an increase in sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (10.3 percent); metals (8.7 percent), and watches (3.6 percent). In contrast, sales fell for: machinery and electronics (-0.8 percent); precision instruments (-0.9 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (-23.1 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, sales went up to: Singapore (74.5 percent); Hong Kong (22.0 percent), and the US (31.3 percent). In contrast sales went down to China (-0.1 percent); Japan (-4.9 percent); EU countries (-4.2 percent), mainly Germany (-2.8 percent) and France (-22.1 percent).
 
Imports edged down 0.1 percent to CHF 14.84 billion, due to a decrease in purchases of jewelry and bijouterie (-23.0 percent); vehicles (-18.1 percent), and food, beverages and tobacco (-0.2 percent). In contrast purchases increased for: chemical and pharmaceutical products (7.6 percent); machinery and electronics (6.9 percent); metals (11.2 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (9 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, purchases went down from the US (-27.7 percent). In contrast, purchases rose from: China (5.1 percent); Japan (10.5 percent); Singapore (1.5 percent), and EU countries (2.7 percent), mainly Germany (1.4 percent), and Italy (8.0 percent).
 
In the January-July period 2017, the trade surplus widened to CHF 22.42 billion from CHF 21.33 billion in the same period of 2016.
 


Tuesday August 08 2017
Swiss Jobless Rate Steady at 32-Month Low in July
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss unadjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.0 percent in July of 2017, the same as in June and in line with market estimates. The jobless rate remained at its lowest since October 2014, as the number of unemployed and jobseekers fell.

In July, there were 133,926 unemployed persons enrolled at the regional employment centers, about 323 less persons than in the prior month. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment decreased by 5,384 persons (-3.9 percent). 

The number of jobseekers reached 195,223, a drop of 1,673 persons compared with June while it decreased by 4,124 compared with the same period last year. 

Youth unemployment (15 to 24 year old) went up by 1,555 persons to 15,663. Compared to July 2016, this represents a decrease of 1,444 people (-8.4 percent). 

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate came in at 3.2 percent, the same as the prior three months.


Monday August 07 2017
Swiss Inflation Rate Rises to 0.3% in July
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss consumer prices increased by 0.3 percent year-on-year in July 2017, in line with market consensus and following a 0.2 percent gain in the previous month. Food prices recovered from a fall in the previous month and cost of housing and utilities increased at a faster pace.

Compared with July 2016, cost rose for: Food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.3 percent from -0.6 percent in June); housing and utilities (1 percent from 0.9 percent); transport (0.4 percent from 0.8 percent); recreation and culture (0.9 percent, the same as in June); and restaurants and hotels (0.5 percent from 0.4 percent). By contrast, prices of health continued to fall (-0.6 percent from -0.7 percent in June).

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, edged up to 0.3 percent from 0.2 percent in June.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices fell 0.3 percent after declining by 0.1 percent in June and in line with market expectations. Prices fell for clothing and footwear (-8.1 percent) and transport (-0.7 percent), but rose for food and non-alcoholic beverages (1 percent) and recreation and culture (0.4 percent).


Thursday July 20 2017
Swiss Trade Surplus Narrows 19% In June
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss trade surplus narrowed 19 percent to CHF 2.81 billion in June 2017 from CHF 3.47 billion a year earlier and below market expectations of CHF 2.89 billion as exports rose less than imports. Exports went up by 2.5 percent to CHF 18.74 billion while imports increased by 7.8 percent to CHF 15.93 billion. In May 2017, the trade balance was recorded CHF 3.40 billion surplus.

Year-on-year, exports rose by 2.7 percent to CHF 18.74 billion, mainly driven by an increase in sales of watches (5.3 percent), metals (11.5 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (62.5 percent). In contrast sales fell for : chemical and pharmaceutical products (-4.0 percent), machinery and electronics (-1.6 percent) and precision instruments (-1 percent).

Among major trade partners, sales went up to: China (6.1 percent); Japan (5.1 percent); Hong Kong (21.8 percent), and the US (17.8 percent). In contrast sales went down to EU countries (-3.1 percent), mainly Germany (-12.1 percent) and France (-0.5 percent)

Imports rose 7.8 percent to CHF 15.93 billion, driven by an increase in purchases of chemical and pharmaceutical products (24.2 percent), machinery and electronics (-0.2 percent), metals (3.7 percent), jewelry and bijouterie (30.3 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (10.7 percent). In contrast purchases decreased for : vehicles (-11.1 percent) and food, beverages and tobacco (-1.0 percent).

Among major trade partners, purchases went up from: EU countries (9.7 percent), mainly Germany (4.7 percent), France (5.8 percent), and Italy (8.1 percent). Purcahes dropped from China (-0.5 percent) and the US (-30.3 percent).

In the January-June period 2017, the trade surplus widened to CHF 18.96 billion from CHF 18.59 billion in the same period of 2016.
 


Friday July 07 2017
Swiss Jobless Rate Falls To 32-Month Low Of 3.0% In June
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss unadjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.0 percent in June of 2017 from 3.1 percent in May and in line with market estimates. It was the lowest jobless rate since October 2014, as the number of unemployed and jobseekers fell.

In June, there were 133,603 unemployed persons enrolled at the regional employment centers, about 6,175 less persons than in the prior month. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment decreased by 5,524 persons (-4.0 percent). 

The number of jobseekers reached 196,896, a drop of 5,523 persons compared with May while it decreased by 4,235 compared with the same period last year. 

Youth unemployment (15 to 24 year old) fell 848 persons to 14,108. Compared to June 2016, this represents a decrease of 1,683 people (-10.7 percent). 

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate stood at 3.2 percent, the same as the prior two months.