Catherine's Feed
May 7, 2012

Credible debt reduction plans essential-IMF’s Lagarde

WASHINGTON/ZURICH, May 7 (Reuters) – The world’s advanced
economies must take steps to cut their huge public debt, but the
right mix of policies will vary by country, International
Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on
Monday.

“The most important element is to lay out a credible
medium-term plan to lower debt,” Lagarde said in a speech
delivered in Zurich. “Without such a plan, countries will be
forced to make an even bigger adjustment soon.”

May 7, 2012

Weak Swiss prices underline rationale for currency cap

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss consumer prices barely rose in April, leaving them falling on an annual basis and underlining the rationale behind the Swiss National Bank’s currency cap to shield the economy from deflation.

Huge investment flows into Switzerland, seen as a safe port of call during the financial and euro zone crises, have sent the franc soaring, pushing down domestic prices and prompting the central bank to step in and try to hold the line.

May 7, 2012

Swiss April inflation barely up, supporting FX cap

ZURICH, May 7 (Reuters) – Swiss consumer prices barely rose
in April, leaving them lower on an annual basis and reinforcing
the rationale behind the Swiss National Bank’s currency cap to
shield the economy from deflation.

Data showed on Monday that Swiss consumer prices rose just
0.1 percent last month from March, held up chiefly by higher
prices for petrol, summer clothing, package holiday tours and
air transport.

Apr 30, 2012

Actelion breathes easy on “best case” new drug data

ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) – A new lung and heart drug from Actelion beat expectations in a key clinical trial, giving a much-needed boost to its pipeline and providing Europe’s leading biotech company with a viable successor to its current top seller.

Actelion is banking on macitentan to replace Tracleer, which treats the same condition and currently accounts for around 90 percent of group sales. Tracleer goes off patent from 2015 and also faces growing competition from Gilead’s Letairis.

Apr 25, 2012

Hildebrand’s wife broke no rules, SNB auditor finds

ZURICH, April 25 (Reuters) – The wife of former Swiss
National Bank chief Philipp Hildebrand did not breach central
bank regulations when she made controversial currency
transactions that led to his resignation, an auditor has found.

The SNB commissioned an audit after Hildebrand stepped down
in January following an uproar over the dollar purchase made by
his wife Kashya, a Zurich art dealer, just weeks before the SNB
set a cap of 1.20 per euro on the strong Swiss franc.

Apr 24, 2012

Swiss exports weak but consumption robust in March

ZURICH, April 24 (Reuters) – Swiss exports faltered in March
but consumption strengthened to an eight-month peak, data showed
on Tuesday, a sign domestic consumers are a bulwark for an
economy struggling with an overvalued currency.

Exports fell by a real 3.3 percent to 17.5 billion Swiss
francs last month, the Federal Customs Office said. When
adjusted for working days they rose 0.8 percent.

Apr 23, 2012

Nestle wins pricey battle for Pfizer baby food unit

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss food group Nestle (NESN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is to buy drugmaker Pfizer’s (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) baby food business for $11.85 billion, beating out French rival Danone (DANO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in the battle for dominance of in fast-growing emerging markets.

The world’s biggest food company had to dig deeper than expected into its ample pockets to win the high-stakes fight for Pfizer Nutrition, which makes 85 percent of its sales in emerging markets.

Apr 23, 2012

Nestle to buy Pfizer baby food unit for $11.9 bln

ZURICH, April 23 (Reuters) – Swiss food group Nestle
is to buy U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s infant
nutrition business for $11.85 billion, beating out French rival
Danone in the battle to gain preeminence in the
lucrative baby food market.

Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, was already seen
as a favoured bidder due largely to its deep pockets, and is
paying for the acquisition in cash.

Apr 19, 2012

Top U.S., Swiss officials to discuss tax secrecy-sources

WASHINGTON/ZURICH, April 19 (Reuters) – Switzerland’s
finance minister is expected to meet with the head of the U.S.
Department of Justice in coming days to try to solve a row over
untaxed money in secret bank accounts, two sources told Reuters
on Thursday.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who also holds the rotating post of
Swiss president, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are
expected to meet on the sidelines of the International Monetary
Fund’s spring meetings in Washington which begin on Friday, the
sources said, as Switzerland seeks to end the long-running
dispute.

Apr 18, 2012

New SNB chief Jordan committed to franc cap

BERNE, April 18 (Reuters) – Switzerland made Thomas Jordan
chairman of the central bank on Wednesday, ending uncertainty
that had cast doubt on the bank’s ability to defend a cap on its
currency’s value.

Jordan, a well-regarded economist who has worked for the
Swiss National Bank since 1997, has been heading the bank on an
interim basis since January, when Philipp Hildebrand resigned
over a currency trading scandal.