Tuesday February 20 2018
Switzerland Posts Smallest Trade Surplus in 4 Years
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus narrowed to CHF 1.32 billion in January 2018 from CHF 3.37 billion in the previous month, missing market expectations of CHF 2.78 billion. It was the smallest trade surplus since December 2013.

Exports decreased by 4.2 percent from the previous month to CHF 18.94 billion in January, mainly due to lower sales of: chemical and pharmaceutical products (-5.3 percent); machinery and electronics (-1.8 percent); precision instruments (-3.2 percent); jewelry and bijouterie (-13.7 percent); and food and beverages (-7.4 percent). In contrast, exports of watches increased by 4.1 percent.
 
Among major trade partners, exports declined to the US (-7.5 percent); and the EU (-5.4 percent), mainly Germany (-1.1 percent), France (-7.6 percent) and Italy (-6.2 percent). Meanwhile, sales went up to Japan (21.3 percent), China (4 percent) and Hong Kong (3 percent).
 
Imports rose 7.5 percent to CHF 17.61 billion, boosted by an increase in purchases of: chemical and pharmaceutical products (29.8 percent); vehicles (12 percent); jewelry and bijouterie (6.6 percent); and machinery and electronics (0.5 percent). In contrast, imports fell for metals (-1.7 percent); food and beverages (-0.9 percent); and textiles, clothing, footwear (-3.4 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, imports went up from the US (39.5 percent); Japan (1.4 percent); and the EU (8.9 percent), mainly from Italy (2.1 percent), Belgium (1.9 percent), Spain (10.9 percent) and Austria (40.4 percent). In contrast, purchases fell from Germany (-2.4 percent), France (-4.6 percent), China (-3.5 percent) and Hong Kong (-40.5 percent).




Monday February 12 2018
Swiss Inflation Rate Slows to 0.7% in January
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss consumer price inflation eased to 0.7 percent year-on-year in January 2018 from the previous month's seven-year high of 0.8 percent. The figure came in slightly below market expectations of 0.8 percent, as cost of transportation rose at a softer pace while health prices fell sharply.

Transport inflation eased to 0.6 percent in January from 1.3 percent in the previous month. Meanwhile, upward pressure came from: housing and utilities (1.3 percent vs 0.9 percent in December); food and non-alcoholic beverages (1 percent vs 0.6 percent); recreation and culture (1.4 percent, the same as in December); and restaurants and hotels (0.6 percent, the same as in December). On the other hand, prices dropped sharply for both health (-0.9 percent vs -0.2 percent) and furnishings and household equipment (-2 percent vs -0.2 percent).

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, slowed to 0.5 percent in January from a near eight-and-a-half-year high of 0.7 percent in December. 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent in January, after showing no growth in December, due in particular to the decrease in prices for outpatient hospital medical services (-4.9 percent). Prices for air transport also declined (-7.2 percent), along with prices for clothing and footwear (-8.2 percent), in particular because of sales. In contrast, prices increased for overnight stays in hotels (9.9 percent), heating oil (6.6 percent) and electricity (2.9 percent).




Friday February 09 2018
Swiss Jobless Rate Stays at 8-Month High of 3.3%
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss unadjusted unemployment rate came in at 3.3 percent in January of 2018, the same as in the prior month but slightly below market consensus of 3.4 percent. It remained the highest jobless rate since April 2017.

In January, there were 149,161 unemployed persons enrolled at the regional employment centers, about 2,507 more persons than in the prior month. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment declined by 15,305 persons (-9.3 percent). 

The number of jobseekers reached 213,125, an increase of 1,107 persons compared with December 2017 while it decreased by 13,736 compared with the same period last year. 

Youth unemployment (15 to 24 year old) decreased by 135 persons to 16,545. Compared to January 2017, this represents a decrease of 3,237 people (-16.4 percent). 

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment stood at 3.0 percent, unchaged from the prededing month.




Tuesday January 30 2018
Swiss Trade Surplus Narrows 1.9% in December
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss trade surplus narrowed 1.9 percent to CHF 2.63 billion in December 2017 from CHF 2.68 billion in the same month a year earlier and below market expectations of CHF 2.75 billion.

Year-on-year, exports increased by 3.6 percent to CHF 17.1 billion in December, mainly due to a rise in sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (0.3 percent); precision instruments (8.8 percent); jewelry and bijouterie (19.6 percent); machinery and electronics (3 percent); watches (0.7 percent); metal (9.7 percent), and food and beverages (4.6 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, sales increased to the US (17.3 percent); China (21.3 percent), and Hong Kong (16.8 percent). Meanwhile, sales went down to Japan (-27.7 percent); EU (-1.3 percent), mainly to Germany (-4.6 percent); France (-4.6 percent), and Italy (-0.7percent).
 
Imports rose 4.7 percent to CHF 14.48 billion, boosted by an increase in purchases of machinery and electronics (8.7 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (2.2 percent); metals (14.9 percent); textiles, clothing, footwear (4.9 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (78.7 percent). In contrast, import fell for both chemical and pharmaceutical products (-10.7percent) and vehicles (-5.9 percent).

Among major trade partners, purchases went up from  the EU (0.5 percent), mainly from Germany (2.5 percent), France (12.2 percent), and Italy (14.4 percent); China (5.9 percent); Hong Kong (67.4 percent), and Japan (14.9 percent). In contrast, purchases fell from the US (-1.3 percent) .
 
Considering full  2017, the trade surplus declined to CHF 34.84 billion from CHF 36.93 billion in the same period of 2016.
 


Tuesday January 09 2018
Swiss Jobless Rate Rises to 8-Month High of 3.3%
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss unadjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.3 percent in December of 2017 from 3.1 percent in the prior month. It was the highest jobless rate since April, and above market consensus of 3.1 percent, as the number of unemployed and jobseekers went up.

In December, there were 146,654 unemployed persons enrolled at the regional employment centers, about 9,337 more persons than in the prior month. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment declined by 12,718 persons (-8.0 percent). 

The number of jobseekers reached 212,018, an increase of 7,877 persons compared with November while it decreased by 11,395 compared with the same period last year. 

Youth unemployment (15 to 24 year old) increased by 110 persons to 16,680. Compared to December 2016, this represents a decrease of 2,536 people (-13.2 percent). 

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment edged down to 3.0 percent from an upwardly revised 3.1 percent in the prior month.


Monday January 08 2018
Swiss Inflation Rate Unchanged at Near 7-Year High
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss consumer price inflation stood at 0.8 percent year-on-year in December 2017, unchanged from the the previous month's seven-year high and in line with market consensus.

Upward pressure came from: housing and utilities (0.9 percent from 1.1 percent in November); transport (1.3 percent from 2 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.6 percent from 0.3 percent); recreation and culture (1.4 percent from 1.5 percent); and restaurants and hotels (0.6 percent from 0.4 percent). By contrast, prices continued to fall for health (-0.2 percent, the same pace as in November) and furnishings and household equipment (-0.2 percent from -0.8 percent).

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, edged up to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent in November. It was the highest rate since August 2009.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were unchanged, following a 0.1 percent fall in November and beating market consensus of a 0.1 percent decline. Prices rose mainly for restaurants and hotels (0.5 percent) and transport (0.3 percent), but fell for food and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.7 percent) and recreation and culture (-0.3 percent).

In 2017, the CPI rose 0.5 percent.


Thursday December 21 2017
Swiss Trade Surplus Narrows 21.7% in November
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss trade surplus narrowed 21.73 percent to CHF 2.63 billion in November 2017 from CHF 3.36 billion in the same month a year earlier and below market expectations of CHF 2.87 billion.

Year-on-year, exports increased by 9.5 percent to CHF 20.46 billion in November, mainly due to a rise in sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (7.4 percent); precision instruments (15.1 percent); jewelry and bijouterie (9.5 percent); machinery and electronics (9.2 percent); watches (6.3 percent); metal (20.2 percent), and food and beverages (14.5 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, sales increased to EU (11.2 percent), mainly to Germany (8.6 percent); France (10.8 percent), Italy (17.8 percent); the US (3.4 percent); China (1 percent); Japan (28.3 percent), and Hong Kong (3.5  percent). Meanwhile, sales went down to Spain (-5.7 percent).
 
Imports rose 16.4 percent to CHF 17.83 billion, boosted by an increase in purchases of chemical and pharmaceutical products (14.8 percent); machinery and electronics (17.8 percent); vehicles (2.5 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (8.1 percent); metals (23.9 percent); textiles, clothing, footwear (19.4 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (83.4 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, purchases went up from China (18.9 percent); the EU (12.9 percent), mainly from Germany (12.6 percent), France (18.1 percent), and Italy (9.1 percent); Japan (26.6 percent), and the US (8.6 percent). In contrast, purchases fell from Hong Kong (-12.5 percent) .
 
In January-November 2017, the trade surplus narrowed to CHF 32.24 billion from CHF 34.25 billion in the same period of 2016.
 


Thursday December 14 2017
Switzerland Leaves Rates on Hold, Raises Inflation 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 December 14th 2017 as widely expected. Policymakers said the franc remains highly valued although the overvaluation continued to decrease. Also, inflation forecasts for both 2017 and 2018 were raised amid higher oil prices and the further weakening of the franc.

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 further against the euro and, more recently, has also depreciated against the US dollar. The overvaluation has thus continued to decrease, yet the franc remains highly valued. The depreciation of the Swiss franc reflects the fact that safe havens are currently less sought after. However, this development is still fragile. Therefore, despite the easing of the situation, the negative interest rate and the SNB’s willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange market as necessary remain essential. These measures keep the attractiveness of Swiss franc investments low and thus ease pressure on the currency. A renewed appreciation would still be a threat to price and economic developments.

The new conditional inflation forecast for the coming quarters is higher than it was in September. This is mainly due to increased oil prices and the further weakening of the Swiss franc. The longer-term inflation forecast is virtually unchanged. For the current year, it has risen marginally to 0.5%, from 0.4% in the previous quarter. For 2018, the SNB anticipates an inflation rate of 0.7%, compared to 0.4% last quarter. For 2019, it continues to expect inflation of 1.1%. The conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that the threemonth Libor remains at –0.75% over the entire forecast horizon.

The past few months have seen further improvements in the international environment. The global economy exhibited strong, broad-based growth in the third quarter. The SNB expects it to continue developing favourably in the quarters ahead. The growth forecasts for the euro area and the US have been revised upwards slightly compared to the previous baseline scenario. While the normalisation of monetary policy gradually continues in the US, monetary policy in the euro area and Japan remains highly expansionary. In Switzerland, GDP grew in the third quarter at an annualised 2.5%. Growth was primarily driven by manufacturing, which benefited from dynamic economic developments abroad and the weaker Swiss franc. In the wake of this development, capacity utilisation in the economy as a whole increased further. The unemployment rate declined again slightly through to November.

Given the supportive global environment and favourable monetary conditions, the recovery in the Swiss economy looks set to continue in the coming months. For 2018, the SNB expects GDP growth of around 2%, compared to 1% in the current year.




Thursday December 07 2017
Swiss Jobless Rate Rises to 6-Month High of 3.1%
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss unadjusted unemployment rate edged up to 3.1 percent in November of 2017 from 3.0 percent in the prior five months. It was the highest jobless rate since May and in line with market consensus, as the number of unemployed and jobseekers increased.

In November, there were 137,317 unemployed persons enrolled at the regional employment centers, about 2,517 more persons than in the prior month. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment declined by 11,911 persons (-8.0 percent). 

The number of jobseekers reached 204,141, an increase of 6,116 persons compared with October while it decreased by 11,074 compared with the same period last year. 

Youth unemployment (15 to 24 year old) fell by 335 persons to 16,570. Compared to November 2016, this represents a decrease of 2,351 people (-12.4 percent). 

Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment edged down to 3.0 percent from 3.1 percent in the prior month.


Wednesday December 06 2017
Swiss Inflation Rate Edges Up to a New 2011 High
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Marta Dubiel | marta.dubiel@tradingeconomics.com

Swiss consumer prices increased 0.8 percent year-on-year in November 2017, up from a 0.7 percent rise in the previous month and slightly below market expectations of a 0.9 percent gain. It was the highest inflation rate since March 2011, mostly driven by a rise in prices of transport and clothing and footwear.

Compared with November 2016, consumer prices rose at a faster pace for transport (2.0 percent from 1.7 percent); clothing and footwear (4.3 percent from 4.1 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.6 percent from 0.5 percent); restaurants and hotels (0.4 percent from 0.3 percent) and recreation and culture (1.5 percent from 0.6 percent). Also, prices fell less for furnishings (-0.8 percent from -2.1 percent) and communications (-0.8 percent from -1.4 percent), while they increased at the same pace for education (1.3 percent). Meantime, cost slowed for housing and utilities (1.1 percent from 1.3 percent), food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.3 percent from 0.4 percent) and it declined for miscellaneous goods and services (-0.1 percent from 0.1 percent).

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, came in at 0.6 percent, up from a 0.5 percent in the previous month and the highest since March 2011.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices declined 0.1 percent following a 0.1 percent rise in October and below market expectations of a 0.2 percent gain. Prices fell for food and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.3 percent); clothing and footwear (-0.4 percent); restaurants and hotels (-0.4 percent); miscellaneous goods and services (-0.3 percent) and communications (-0.6 percent). In contrast, inflation went up for transport (0.3 percent); housing and utilities (0.1 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.4 percent) and furnishings (1.0 percent).