Thursday October 18 2018
Switzerland Posts Largest Trade Surplus in 5 Months
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus widened to CHF 1.45 billion in September 2018 from a marginally revised CHF 1.36 billion in the previous month. It was the largest trade surplus since April, as exports fell less than imports.

Exports declined 2.1  percent from a month earlier to CHF 17.83 billion in September, dragged by decreases in sales of watchmaking (-5.2 percent), precision instruments (-2.6 percent); metals (-3.7 percent); chemical and pharmaceutical products (-1.2 percent), and machinery and electronics (-0.2 percent). By contrast, there was an increases in exports of jewelry and bijouterie (4.2 percent).

Among major trade partners, exports to the EU decreased 1 percent, mainly to Germany (-2.1 percent), France (-2.8 percent), the Netherlands (-22 percent), and Spain (-4 percent) while those to Italy and Austria went up 1.3 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively. In addition, sales dropped to China (-12.4 percent), India (-3.6 percent), and the US (-1.4 percent). By contrast, exports increased to Japan (21.6 percent); Singapore (1.1 percent), and Turkey (54.9 percent).

Imports fell at a faster 2.8 percent to CHF 16.38 billion in September, as purchases decreased for vehicles (-9.2 percent), jewelry and bijouterie (-29.6 percent), metals (-1.3 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (-0.2 percent). Meanwhile, imports increased for chemical and pharmaceutical products (3.2 percent), and machinery and electronics (0.1 percent). 

Among major trade partners, imports from the EU went down 1.4 percent, namely from Germany (-1.7 percent), Italy (-5.2 percent), France (-9.7 percent), and the Netherlands (-10.3 percent) while those from Belgium and Ireland rose 10.5 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively. Also, imports declined from China (-2.3 percent), Japan (-25.6 percent); the US (-10.6 percent) but rose from the Hong Kong (3.9 percent); Singapore (14.5 percent), and Canada (116.3 percent).
 
Considering January to September, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to CHF 11.6 billion from CHF 18.5 billion in the same period of 2017.


 




Monday October 08 2018
Swiss September Jobless Rate Unchanged at 10-Year Low
SECO | Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss unemployment rate came in at a non-seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in September 2018, unchanged from the previous four months and the lowest since September 2008.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 1,307 from the previous month, or 1.2 percent, to 106,586 in September. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment fell by 26,583, or 20 percent.

Also, the number of jobseekers declined by 1,476, or 0.8 percent, to 178,499, and by 15,125 year-on-year, or 7.8 percent. 

Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, edged down to 2.5 percent in September from 2.6 percent in August, as the number of young unemployed dropped by 774, or 5.3 percent, to 13,724. Compared to September 2017, it decreased by 3,985 people, or 22.5 percent. 

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate fell to 2.5 percent in September from 2.6 percent in August.





Friday October 05 2018
Swiss Inflation Rate at 4-Month Low of 1%
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Agna Gabriel | agna.gabriel@tradingeconomics.com

Annual inflation rate in Switzerland decreased to 1 percent in September of 2018 from 1.2 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 1.1 percent. It was the lowest inflation rate since May.

Year-on-year, prices rose at a slower pace for transport (3.1 percent from 3.2 percent in August); restaurant and hotels (0.8 percent from 1 percent); recreation and culture (1.4 percent from 1.9 percent); miscellaneous goods and services (0.3 percent from 0.4 percent); clothing and footwear (0.1 percent from 3.2 percent) and education (0.6 percent from 1 percent). Also, cost fell for health (-0.7 percent from -0.6 percent) and household equipment and maintenance (-0.1 percent from 0.3 percent). 

On the other hand, cost advanced further for food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.5 percent from 1.1 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.7 percent from 0.5 percent). Meanwhile, inflation was steady for housing and electricity (1.3 percent, the same as in August) and communication (0.7 percent). 

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, went down to 0.4 percent in September, following a 0.5 percent gain in August. 

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.1 percent, after showing no growth in the previous month. Prices rose for clothing and fresh vegetables while cost of international package holidays and air transport decreased.




Thursday September 20 2018
Swiss Holds Interest Rate Steady at -0.75%
SNB | Agna Gabriel | agna.gabriel@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss National Bank kept its benchmark three-month Libor unchanged at -0.75 percent on September 20th 2018, in line with market expectations. The central bank said the Swiss franc is highly valued and confirmed it will continue to intervene in foreign exchange markets. Policymakers also lowered inflation forecasts for 2019 to 0.8 percent from 0.9 percent and for 2020 to 1.2 percent from 1.6 percent. Inflation forecast for 2018 was left at 0.9 percent. GDP growth for the current year was revised higher to 2.5-3 percent from 2 percent.

SNB press release:

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is maintaining its expansionary monetary policy, thereby stabilising price developments and supporting economic activity. Interest on sight deposits at the SNB remains at –0.75% and the target range for the three-month Libor is unchanged at between –1.25% and –0.25%. The SNB will remain active in the foreign exchange market as necessary, while taking the overall currency situation into consideration. 

Since the monetary policy assessment of June 2018, the Swiss franc has appreciated noticeably, against the major currencies as well as against emerging market currencies. The Swiss franc is 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 remain essential in order to keep the attractiveness of Swiss franc investments low and thus ease pressure on the currency. 

The new conditional inflation forecast suggests that inflation up to the beginning of 2019 will be higher than predicted in June due to a slight rise in domestic inflation. From the second quarter of 2019, the new conditional forecast lies below the June forecast as a result of the appreciation in the Swiss franc. For 2018, the SNB continues to anticipate inflation of 0.9%, while the inflation forecast of 0.8% for 2019 is 0.1 percentage points lower than projected at the last assessment. For 2020, the SNB expects to see inflation of 1.2%, compared with the 1.6% forecast in the 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. 

Overall, global economic growth was solid in the second quarter. In the advanced economies, utilisation of production capacity continued to improve and employment figures once again rose. In the emerging economies, too, economic momentum remained generally robust. International goods trade nonetheless slowed somewhat.

Economic signals for the coming months remain favourable. Supported by ongoing expansionary monetary policy in the advanced economies and improved labour markets, the global economy is likely to continue to grow. However, following strong growth in the previous quarters, the pace is expected to slow slightly. To date, the crises of confidence in Turkey and Argentina have not materially impacted the global economic outlook. 

The risks to this positive baseline scenario are more to the downside. Chief among them are political uncertainties in some countries as well as potential international tensions and protectionist tendencies. 

Switzerland’s economy has continued to recover. The revised GDP figures for recent years reveal stronger growth momentum than was originally reported. In the second quarter 2018, GDP once again grew faster than estimated potential output, at an annualised rate of 2.9%. The positive development in the first half of the year was, however, partly due to special factors. Overall, utilisation of total production capacity has improved further, and unemployment has also continued to decline over recent months. 

Leading indicators suggest that the economic outlook remains favourable. Some loss of momentum is expected, however, due to a slight slowdown in global growth and the dampening effect of recent Swiss franc appreciation. The SNB now anticipates GDP growth of between 2.5% and 3% for the current year and a further slight fall in unemployment. The stronger growth forecast is attributable to the upward revision for the previous quarters.




Thursday September 20 2018
Switzerland Posts Largest Trade Surplus in 4 Months
Swiss Customs Administration | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus widened to CHF 1.41 billion in August 2018 from a marginally revised CHF 1.17 billion in the previous month. It was the largest trade surplus since April, as exports edged up while imports fell.

Exports inched up 0.2 percent from a month earlier to CHF 18.29 billion in August, driven by increases in sales of watchmaking (1.4 percent), precision instruments (1.6 percent), and metals (1.0 percent). By contrast, there was a decline in exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-1.1 percent), machinery and electronics (-0.2 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (-2 percent).

Among major trade partners, exports to the EU increased 2.7 percent, mainly to France (8.4 percent), the Netherlands (8.3 percent), Spain (1.5 percent), and Italy (0.7 percent); while those to Germany and the UK decreased 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. In addition, sales rose to Singapore (11.1 percent), Brazil (4.4 percent), and the UAE (8.4 percent). By contrast, exports declined to the US (-1.6 percent), China (-0.8 percent); Japan (-22.6 percent), Hong Kong (-14.4 percent), Canada (-1.8 percent) and Australia (-6.8 percent).

Imports fell 1.1 percent to CHF 16.89 billion in August, as purchases dropped for vehicles (-5.6 percent), jewelry and bijouterie (-10.2 percent), metals (-3.3 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (-3.0 percent). Meanwhile, imports increased for chemical and pharmaceutical products (6.9 percent), and machinery and electronics (0.7 percent). 

Among major trade partners, imports from the EU went down 1.5 percent, namely from Germany (-0.9 percent), France (-23.5 percent), Spain (-1.3 percent), and Austria (-6.7 percent) while those from Italy and the Netherlands rose 5.5 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Also, imports declined from China (-2.5 percent), but rose from the US (19.8 percent) and Japan (0.3 percent).
 
Considering January to August, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to CHF 10.44 billion from CHF 16.92 billion in the same period of 2017.


Friday September 07 2018
Swiss Jobless Rate Holds Steady at 10-Year Low
SECO | Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss unemployment rate came in at a non-seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in August 2018, unchanged from the previous three months and the lowest since September 2008.

The number of unemployed people increased by 1,841 from the previous month, or 1.7 percent, to 107,893 in August. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment fell by 27,685, or 20.4 percent.

Also, the number of jobseekers rose by 118, or 0.1 percent, to 179,975 in August, but declined by 15,359 year-on-year, or 7.9 percent. 

Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, rose to 2.6 percent in August from 2.1 percent in July. It was the highest rate since February, as the number of young unemployed increased by 2,691 to 14,498. Compared to August 2017, it decreased by 4,254 people, or 22.7 percent. 

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate stood at 2.6 percent in August, the same as in July.


Thursday September 06 2018
Swiss Q2 GDP Growth Stronger than Expected
SECO | Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss economy grew by 0.7 percent on quarter in the three months to June 2018, following an upwardly revised 1 percent expansion in the previous period and beating market consensus of 0.5 percent. GDP expanded at an above average rate for the fifth quarter in a row mainly supported by a strong increase in exports of goods despite global trade disputes.

On the expenditure side, exports of goods jumped by 2.6 percent in the second quarter (vs 0.6 percent in Q1), while imports dropped 1.1 percent (vs 2.3 percent in Q1). Meanwhile, exports of services edged up by 0.1 percent (vs -0.6 percent in Q1) and imports increased at a slightly faster 0.2 percent (vs -2.8 percent in Q1).

In addition, household consumption rose by 0.3 percent, easing from a 0.4 percent advance in the previous quarter, in particular due to lower energy consumption because of weather conditions. Investment in construction grew by 0.8 percent (vs 0.2 percent in Q1) while that in equipment and software declined 0.3 percent (vs 1.9 percent in Q1). Government spending increased by 0.1 percent, after being unchanged in the prior quarter.

On the production side, manufacturing provided the most substantial boost to growth in the second quarter (1.5 percent) underpinned by robust foreign demand and the favourable exchange rate movements compared to recent years. Also, energy sector output surged by 4.8 percent thanks to marked growth in energy production from hydropower and nuclear power plants. Within services activities, growth was recorded in: accommodation and food services (1.4 percent); financial and other services (0.4 percent); and the entertainment sector (10.1 percent); the health sector (0.5 percent); and business-related services (0.3 percent). Finally, trade (-0.2 percent) suffered a drop in value added, triggered in particular by sluggish growth in wholesale. 

Year-on-year, the GDP grew by 3.4 percent in the second quarter, following an upwardly revised 2.9 percent expansion in the previous period and easily beating forecasts of a 2.4 percent advance. It was the strongest annual expansion since the last quarter of 2010.





Tuesday September 04 2018
Swiss Inflation Rate Steady at 1.2% in August
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss consumer price inflation came in at 1.2 percent year-on-year in August 2018, unchanged from the previous month and matching market expectations. Prices rose less mainly for housing & utilities, transport and food while advanced faster for restaurants & hotels.

Year-on-year, prices rose at a slower pace for housing & utilities (1.3 percent vs 1.5 percent in July); transport (3.2 percent vs 4.1 percent); food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent vs 1.5 percent). Also, cost continued to decrease for health (-0.6 percent vs -0.8 percent). Meantime, inflation was steady for recreation & culture (at 1.9 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (at 0.4 percent). 

On the other hand, cost advanced further for restaurants & hotels (1.0 percent vs 0.8 percent) and clothing & footwear (3.2 percent vs 1.7 percent).

Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, stood at 0.5 percent in August, unchanged from the previous month's figure.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were flat, after decreasing 0.2 percent in the prior month. Prices fell mostly for airfares (-12.4 percent) and international package holidays (-1.7 percent) while they were up for clothing & footwear (3.1 percent) and housing rents (0.2 percent).


Tuesday August 21 2018
Swiss Posts Smallest Trade Surplus in 6 Months
Swiss Customs Administration | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus narrowed slightly to CHF 1.15 billion in July 2018 from a downwardly revised CHF 1.22 billion in the previous month. It was the smallest trade surplus since January, as exports fell more than imports.

Exports dropped 3 percent from a month earlier to CHF 18.21 billion in July, dragged by decreases in sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-4.2 percent), machinery and electronics (-2.8 percent), watchmaking (-4.4 percent), metals (-0.8 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (-10.4 percent). By contrast, exports of precision instruments increased by 1.1 percent.

Among major trade partners, exports to the EU declined 8.5 percent, mainly to France (-20.2 percent), the Netherlands (-18.6 percent), Austria (-20.6 percent) and Italy (-3.7 percent); while those to Germany, the UK and Spain increased 0.8 percent, 2.5 percent and 1.6 percent respectively. In addition, sales dropped to the US (-0.1 percent), Singapore (-0.7 percent) and South Korea (-7.1 percent) but increased to China (4.2 percent), Japan (19.2 percent), Hong Kong (14.6 percent) and Canada (2.8 percent).
 
Imports fell at a softer 2.8 percent to CHF 17.05 billion in July, as purchases dropped for chemical and pharmaceutical products (-11.6 percent), metals (-1.7 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (-4.7 percent). Meanwhile, imports increased for machinery and electronics (1.0 percent), vehicles (1.9 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (2.5 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, imports from the EU went down 4 percent, namely from Germany (-4.5 percent), Italy (-1.7 percent), the UK (-5.3 percent) and Spain (-2.9 percent); while those from France and the Netherlands rose 8.3 percent and 5.1 percent respectively. Also, imports declined from the US (-8.8 percent) and Hong Kong (-14.9 percent), while those from China and Japan went up 0.5 percent and 30.9 percent respectively.
 
Considering January to July, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to CHF 9.01 billion from CHF 15.24 billion in the same period of 2017.


Thursday August 09 2018
Swiss July Jobless Rate Steady at Near 10-Year Low
SECO | Rida | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss unemployment rate came in at a non-seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in July 2018, unchanged from the previous month. The jobless rate remained at its lowest level since September 2008.

The number of unemployed people declined by 527 from the previous month, or 0.5 percent, to 106,052 in July. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment fell by 27,874, or 20.8 percent.

Also, the number of jobseekers was almost unchanged at 179,857 in July, and declined by 15,366 year-on-year, or 7.9 percent. 

Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, rose to 2.1 percent in July from a near 17-year low of 1.9 percent in June. The number of young unemployed increased by 1,070 to 11,807. Compared to July 2017, it decreased by 3,856 people, or 24.6 percent. 

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate stood at 2.6 percent in July, the same as in June.