Tuesday August 20 2019
Swiss Trade Surplus Narrows in July
Swiss Customs Administration | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus narrowed to CHF 2.7 billion in July 2019 from a revised CHF 3.2 billion in the previous month, as exports fell more than imports.

Exports decreased 3.9 percent from a month earlier to CHF 19.6 billion in July, due to lower sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-11.3 percent), jewellery (-3.9 percent), and precision instruments (-0.9 percent). Conversely, sales rose for machinery and electronics (5.9 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (3.2 percent); metals (3.1 percent); watchmaking (0.1 percent).
 
Among major trade partners, exports declined to France (-2.2 percent), the UK (-24.9 percent), Spain (-6.3 percent), the Netherlands (-16.7 percent), Belgium (-16.3 percent), Austria (-8.9 percent), the US (-13.9 percent), China (-2 percent), and the Middle East (-1.6 percent). Meanwhile, there were increases in exports to Germany (3.9 percent), Italy (8.5 percent), Japan (4.3 percent), Hong Kong (8.1 percent), and Singapore (0.3 percent).

Imports dropped at a softer 1.7 percent to CHF 16.9 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-8.3 percent), vehicles (-3.9 percent), metals (-2.8 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (-0.9 percent). On the other hand, imports rose for: machinery and electronics (0.3 percent); jewellery (13.4 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (0.8 percent); and energy products (4.6 percent).

Among major trade partners, imports were down from France (-16.8 percent), Belgium (-3.9 percent), Austria (-19.4 percent), Ireland (-33.9 percent), and the US (-1.7 percent), but rose from Germany (0.4 percent), Italy (3.4 percent), Spain (30.4 percent), the Netherlands (2.3 percent), the UK (6.9 percent), the UAE (45.3 percent), China (1.7 percent), and Japan (10.7 percent).
 
Considering the first seven months of the year, the trade surplus widened sharply to CHF 14.9 billion from CHF 9.6 billion in the same period of 2018.




Friday August 09 2019
Swiss Jobless Rate Holds Steady at Over 17-Year Low
SECO | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss unemployment rate stood at a non-seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent in July 2019, unchanged from the previous month's 17-1/2- year low.

The number of unemployed people increased by 356 from the previous month, or 0.4 percent, to 97,578 in July. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment fell by 8,474, or 8 percent. Also, the number of jobseekers went up 480, or 0.3 percent, to 171,280; and dropped by 8,577 year-on-year, or 4.8 percent. 

Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, rose to 2.1 percent in July from 1.9 percent in June, with the number of young unemployed increasing by 1,067, or 10.9 percent, to 10,829. Compared to July 2018, it fell by 8.3 percent.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate came in at 2.3 percent in July, the same as in June.




Friday August 02 2019
Swiss Inflation Rate Slows to 2-Year Low
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Chusnul Ch Manan| chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Switzerland's annual inflation fell to 0.3 percent in July 2019, the lowest since July 2017, from 0.6 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 0.5 percent. Transport and restaurant & hotels inflation rates slowed while food and health prices fell.

Inflation eased for transportation (0.4 percent vs 1.0 percent in June); restaurants and hotels (0.6 percent vs 0.7 percent); clothing and footwear (2.2 percent vs 3.5 percent); and miscellaneous goods and services (0.6 percent vs 0.7 percent). In addition, prices fell for: food and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.4 percent vs 0.1 percent), the first yearly decline in food prices since February 2018; healthcare (-0.4 percent vs 0.1 percent); and recreation and culture (-0.8 percent after a flat reading in May)

On the other hand, inflation accelerated for both housing and energy (0.4 percent vs 0.3 percent) and household equipment and maintenance (3.2 percent vs 1.9 percent),  
 
Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, declined to 0.4 percent in July, the lowest since February, from 0.7 percent in the prior month.
 
On a monthly basis, consumer prices dropped 0.5 percent in July, after being unchanged in June and compared to market consensus of a 0.3 percent fall. This was the biggest monthly decline in consumer prices since July 2015, due to falling prices for clothing and footwear amid seasonal sales, as well as lower cost for international package holidays and air transport. In contrast, prices for heating oil and berries increased.




Thursday July 18 2019
Swiss Trade Surplus Largest in Nearly 2-1/2 Years
Swiss Customs Administration | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus widened sharply to CHF 3.3 billion in June 2019 from a downwardly revised CHF 1.5 billion in the previous month. This was the largest trade surplus since January 2017, as exports rose while imports fell.

Exports increased 8.5 percent from a month earlier to CHF 20.4 billion in June, driven by sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (23.8 percent). By contrast, sales decreased for machinery and electronics (-7.5 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (-1.3 percent); metals (-4.7 percent); watchmaking (-7.1 percent); precision instruments (-4.2 percent), and jewellery (-8.5 percent).

Among major trade partners, exports rose to the US (15.8 percent); Spain (13.8 percent); the Netherlands (18.7 percent); Ireland (9.1 percent); Austria (1.7 percent); Singapore (5.8 percent); Hong Kong (3.8 percent), and South Korea (2.6 percent). Meantime, there were decreases in exports to China (-4.8 percent); Japan (-3.4 percent); Germany (-0.6 percent); France (-1.5 percent), and Italy (-3.9 percent).

Imports declined 0.8 percent to CHF 17.1 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of machinery and electronics (-2.6 percent); jewellery (-23.1 percent); and metals (-1.7 percent). On the other hand, imports rose for: pharmaceutical products (6.0 percent); vehicles (2.8 percent); textiles, clothing, footwear (0.3 percent), and food, beverages and tobacco (2.7 percent)

Among major trade partners, imports went down from the US (-7.2 percent); China (-0.9 percent); Germany (-4.1 percent); France (-13.2 percent); Belgium (-17.2 percent); Italy (-1.0 percent); Spain (-4.9 percent); Austria (-9.4 percent), and Singapore (-16.6 percent) while imports fell from Japan (9.0 percent); Ireland (30.2 percent).

Considering the first half of the year, the trade surplus widened to CHF 12.9 billion from CHF 8.7 billion in the same period of 2018.
 
 



Tuesday July 09 2019
Swiss Jobless Rate Lowest Since November 2001
Seco l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss unemployment rate dropped to to a non-seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent in June 2019 from 2.3 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 2.2 percent. This was the lowest jobless rate since November 2001, as the number of unemployed declined further.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 4,148 from the previous month, or 4.1 percent, to 97,222 in June. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment fell by 9,357, or 8.8 percent. Also, the number of jobseekers fell by 5,328, or 3 percent, to 170,800; and dropped by 8,977 year-on-year, or 5 percent. 

Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, was unchanged at 1.9 percent in June, with the number of young unemployed declining by 287, or 2.9 percent, to 9,762. Compared to June 2018, it fell by 9.1 percent.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate edged down to 2.3 percent in June from 2.4 percent in May.


Thursday July 04 2019
Swiss Inflation Rate Unchanged at 0.6%
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Switzerland's annual inflation stood at 0.6 percent in June 2019, unchanged from the previous month's three-month low and slightly above market expectations of 0.5 percent. Cost of transport, housing, food, and health rose at softer pace, while restaurants and hotels inflation accelerated.

Inflation eased for housing and energy (0.3 percent vs 0.6 percent in May); health (0.1 percent vs 0.3 percent); transportation (1.0 percent vs 1.2 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.1 percent vs 0.2 percent). Meantime, recreation and culture prices were unchanged for the second straight month and miscellaneous goods and services inflation was flat at 0.7 percent.
 
On the other hand, prices rose at faster pace for restaurants and hotels (0.7 percent vs 0.4 percent), household equipment and maintenance (1.9 percent vs 1.8 percent), and clothing and footwear (3.5 percent vs 2.3 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 in June, the highest since December 2017, from 0.6 percent in the prior month.
 
On a monthly basis, consumer prices were flat in June, after a 0.3 percent advance in May and compared to market consensus of a 0.1 percent fall, as an increase in prices for international package holidays and fruiting vegetables offset a decline in cost for heating oil and stone fruit.


Thursday June 20 2019
Switzerland Trade Surplus Smallest in 4 Months
Swiss Customs Administration l Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss trade surplus narrowed to CHF 1.7 billion in May 2019 from CHF 1.9 billion in the previous month. This was the smallest trade surplus since January, as exports fell while imports rose.

Exports dropped 0.5 percent from a month earlier to CHF 18.9 billion in May, dragged down by sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-2.4 percent); food, beverages and tobacco (-2.5 percent), and metals (-1.3 percent). By contrast, sales increased for machinery and electronics (2.7 percent); watchmaking (8.9 percent); precision instruments (4.0 percent), and jewellery (8.8 percent).

Among major trade partners, exports declined to the US (-1.0 percent); Spain (-10.2 percent); the Netherlands (-2.3 percent); Ireland (-18.2 percent); Austria (-26.7 percent); Singapore (-0.7 percent), and South Korea (-4.2 percent). Meantime, there were increases in exports to China (8.8 percent); Japan (10.3 percent); Germany (2.2 percent); France (2.6 percent), and Italy (5.6 percent).

Imports increased 0.9 percent to CHF 17.2 billion, mainly due to higher purchases of pharmaceutical products (5.3 percent); vehicles (0.8 percent), and metals (2.0 percent). On the other hand, imports decreased for: machinery and electronics (-1.8 percent); jewellery (-8.6 percent); textiles, clothing, footwear (-0.1 percent), and food, beverages and tobacco (-8.3 percent)

Among major trade partners, imports rose from the US (14.7 percent); Ireland (49.9 percent); Belgium 17.6 percent); Austria (8.9 percent), and France (9.7 percent); while imports went down from Japan (-6.9 percent); China (-3.6 percent); Germany (-0.4 percent); Italy (-1.2 percent), and Spain (-19.9 percent).

Considering the first five months of the year, the trade surplus widened to CHF 9.2 billion from CHF 6.8 billion in the same period of 2018.



Thursday June 13 2019
SNB Holds Rates, Raises Inflation Outlook
Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss National Bank held its interest on sight deposits at -0.75 percent during its June meeting and introduced the SNB policy rate, which will be used from now on and replaces the target range for the three-month Libor used previously. It currently stands at -0.75 percent. Policymakers said that the expansionary monetary policy remains necessary amid a "highly valued" Swiss franc and uncertainty surrounding the global economy.

Excerpt from the Swiss National Bank statement:

The Swiss National Bank is today introducing the SNB policy rate.1 From now on, it will use this rate in taking and communicating its monetary policy decisions. The SNB policy rate replaces the target range for the three-month Libor used previously, and currently stands at −0.75%. The SNB’s monetary policy thus remains as expansionary as before. Interest on sight deposits held by banks at the SNB currently corresponds to the SNB policy rate and remains at −0.75%. The SNB will seek to keep the secured short-term Swiss franc money market rates close to the SNB policy rate. SARON is the most representative short-term money market rate today, and is also establishing itself as the reference rate for financial products.

The reason for introducing the SNB policy rate is that the future of the Libor is not guaranteed. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority will only ensure that the Libor is maintained through to the end of 2021. The SNB’s conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that a given interest rate remains unchanged over the entire forecast horizon of three years. The three-month Libor has been used for this purpose to date. Given that the current forecast for the first time extends beyond the end of 2021, the introduction of the SNB policy rate ensures that it will be based on the same interest rate over the entire horizon.

The SNB’s expansionary monetary policy remains necessary against the backdrop of the current price and economic developments. On a trade-weighted basis, the Swiss franc is somewhat stronger than in March and is still highly valued. The situation on the foreign exchange market continues to be 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 for the coming quarters is slightly higher than in March. This is primarily attributable to a rise in the prices of imported goods. The longer-term inflation forecast is virtually unchanged. For 2019 it stands at 0.6%, up from the figure of 0.3% last quarter. For 2020, the SNB anticipates an inflation rate of 0.7%, compared to 0.6% last quarter. The forecast for 2021 is 1.1%, 0.1 of a percentage point lower than last quarter. The conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that the SNB policy rate remains at –0.75% over the entire forecast horizon.

The Swiss economy also gathered momentum at the beginning of the year. According to the initial estimate, GDP grew by 2.3% in the first quarter. Labour market developments were also positive. Production capacity in Switzerland was well utilised overall. The economic indicators point towards momentum remaining favourable. Against this backdrop, the SNB continues to expect the economy to grow by around 1.5% in 2019. As is the case with the global economy, the risks for this scenario remain to the downside. In particular, an unexpectedly sharp slowdown internationally would quickly spread to Switzerland.




Friday June 07 2019
Swiss Jobless Rate Falls to Near 11-Year Low
SECO | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com

The Swiss unemployment rate edged down to a non-seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent in May 2019 from 2.4 percent in the previous month and matching market expectations. This was the lowest jobless rate since July 2008, as the number of unemployed declined further.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 5,928 from the previous month, or 5.5 percent, to 101,370 in May. Compared to the same month a year earlier, unemployment fell by 8,022, or 7.3 percent. Also, the number of jobseekers fell by 7,421, or 4 percent, to 176,128; and dropped by 9,339 year-on-year, or 5 percent. 

Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, inched lower to 1.8 percent in May, the lowest since September 2001, from 1.9 percent a month earlier, with the number of young unemployed declining by 612, or 5.7 percent, to 10,049. Compared to May 2018, it fell by 7.8 percent.

When adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate stood at 2.4 percent in May, unchanged from the previous month.


Monday June 03 2019
Swiss Inflation Rate Eases to 0.6% in May
Swiss Federal Statistical Office | Chusnul Ch Manan | chusnul@tradingeconomics.com

Switzerland's annual inflation rate inched down to 0.6 percent in May 2019 from 0.7 percent in the previous month, matching market expectations. This was the lowest inflation rate since February, as transport and food prices rose at softer rates while housing inflation was unchanged.

Inflation slowed for: transportation (1.2 percent vs 1.4 percent in April); food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.2 percent vs 1.2 percent); and restaurants and hotels (0.4 percent vs 0.9 percent). In addition, housing and energy inflation was steady (at 0.6 percent), while recreation and culture prices were unchanged (vs -0.2 percent in April).
 
Health prices, which account for 15 percent of the CPI, rose 0.3 percent in May, the third straight month of annual gain, following a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month. Also, miscellaneous goods and services prices rebounded (0.7 percent vs -0.4 percent).
 
Annual core inflation, which strips out volatile price components like food, beverages, tobacco, seasonal products, energy and fuel, edged up to 0.6 percent in May from 0.5 percent in the prior month.
 
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.3 percent in May, following a 0.2 percent increase in April and matching market consensus, mainly due to higher prices for fuel and package travel abroad. On the other hand, prices for hotel accommodation and books fell.