Catherine's Feed
Jun 12, 2012

Swiss see better 2012 growth, euro crisis risk

ZURICH, June 12 (Reuters) – The Swiss government raised its
2012 growth forecast on Tuesday, saying robust domestic demand
was helping to offset the ill effects of the strong franc on
exports, though a worsening of the euro zone crisis had the
potential to hamper momentum.

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economics (SECO) now
sees growth of 1.4 percent for 2012, up from a March forecast of
0.8 percent. It sees inflation at -0.4 percent this year,
unchanged from its earlier forecast.

Jun 1, 2012

Analysis: Swiss capital curb talk unlikely to become reality

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss talk of capital controls to repel investors fleeing the euro zone sounds more like saber-rattling than a realistic plan, given such curbs would be unlikely to work and could cause lasting damage to the country’s banking industry.

Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan has said a committee is examining measures including capital controls to counter franc buying in the event of Greece leaving the euro but declined to give further details.

Jun 1, 2012

Swiss manufacturing sinks to 3-yr low, may slow more -PMI

ZURICH, June 1 (Reuters) – Swiss manufacturing activity fell
to a three-year low in May and could slow down even more with
order books thinning, a survey showed on Friday, as the sector
struggles with a strong currency and weak demand from the debt
crisis-hit euro zone.

The Swiss purchasing managers’ index compiled by Credit
Suisse fell to a seasonally adjusted 45.4 points in May from
46.9 the previous month, sliding further below the 50 line that
separates growth from contraction for the second consecutive
month.

May 31, 2012

Swiss growth surprisingly strong despite euro woes

ZURICH, May 31 (Reuters) – The Swiss economy grew more than
expected in the first quarter of the year despite turmoil in the
neighbouring euro zone, adding fuel to the debate over the
central bank’s cap on the franc.

Compared with the previous three months, gross domestic
product rose 0.7 percent, the State Secretariat for Economics
said on Thursday, beating a Reuters forecast for flat quarterly
growth. Year-on-year, GDP rose 2.0 percent, also ahead of
expectations for a rise of just 0.9 percent.

May 31, 2012

Swiss growth surprisingly strong despite euro woes

ZURICH, May 31 (Reuters) – The Swiss economy grew more than
expected in the first quarter of the year despite turmoil in the
neighbouring euro zone, adding fuel to the debate over the
central bank’s cap on the franc.

Compared with the previous three months, gross domestic
product rose 0.7 percent, the State Secretariat for Economics
said on Thursday, beating a Reuters forecast for flat quarterly
growth. Year-on-year, GDP rose 2.0 percent, also ahead of
expectations for a rise of just 0.9 percent.

May 30, 2012

Swiss parliament oks German, UK, Austria tax deals

ZURICH, May 30 (Reuters) – Switzerland’s parliament gave the
green light for tax pacts with Germany, Britain and Austria
aimed at preventing tax cheats from stashing money in secret
accounts, a decision that could pour billions of extra euros
into strained state coffers.

Lawmakers in parliament’s lower house on Wednesday voted 108
to 81 in favour of the agreement with Germany, which will levy a
retroactive tax of up to 41 percent. The deal, set to take
effect in early 2013, has already been approved by the upper
house.

May 11, 2012

Jeff Koons seeks to wring emotion from “empty” art

BASEL, Switzerland, May 11 (Reuters) – U.S. pop artist Jeff
Koons is seeking to fire up your emotions at a retrospective
show of his work in Switzerland.

Although some critics regard his work as empty kitsch, Koons
has put 30 years of sculpture – including his famous Balloon Dog
- into his first museum show in Switzerland along with the
admission that his art is in eye of the beholder.

May 9, 2012

Italy seeks tax on secret funds in Swiss accounts

MILAN/ZURICH, May 9 (Reuters) – Italy agreed with
Switzerland on Wednesday to discuss ways to retroactively tax
undeclared funds stashed by Italians in secret Swiss accounts,
which could net Rome billions of euros of badly needed revenue
while it fights a deep recession.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had initially been
reluctant to discuss a tax deal similar to those signed by
Britain and Germany with Switzerland.

May 8, 2012

Swiss Life income drops as wealth units struggle

ZURICH, May 8 (Reuters) – Swiss Life reported a
fall in first-quarter income from insurance premiums, hit by a
big decline at its business focused on the wealthy, and said its
troubled German wealth management arm also suffered a decline in
sales.

Switzerland’s biggest dedicated life insurer said on Tuesday
premium income amounted to 6.3 billion Swiss francs ($6.8
billion) in the first three months of the year, down 4 percent
in Swiss franc terms.

May 7, 2012

IMF shows new flexibility on fiscal austerity

WASHINGTON/ZURICH (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund showed some new flexibility on Monday over how quickly it would press deeply indebted countries to bring their budgets under control if economic growth weakens.

Its shift in tone could prove important for Athens where chances have jumped that a new Greek government would seek to renegotiate its 130-billion-euro ($170-billion) bailout package with the IMF and the European Union, after Greek voters resoundingly rejected austerity measures in weekend elections.