Mixed picture of Swiss economy surfacing
franc strengthened in September despite cap on euro rate
NEUCHATEL, SWITZERLAND – Swiss retail sales grew 5.9 percent in August, compared to a year earlier, and 0.4 percent compared to July, federal statistical office figures published 1 October show. Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered an increase in real turnover of 4.1 percent. The non-food sector registered positive growth of 6.3 percent.
The growth appears to back the slightly more optimistic forecast offered for 2012 by UBS in September, with GDP (gross domestic production) growth of 1.1 percent, compared to that provided last week by Crea, the economic research group at the University of Lausanne, which adjusted lower its quarterly index.
A key factor in Switzerland’s economic performance is the exchange rate for the Swiss franc against other major currencies. The central bank Monday issued its monthly bulletin of exchange rates, showing the Swiss franc strengthening slightly in September against all major currencies and inching dangerously close to CHF1.21 for the euro, despite a 1.20 cap set by the Swiss National Bank:
August/September foreign exchange rates
(Source: Swiss National Bank)
pound sterling, 1.5213/1.5148
US dollar, 0.9685/0.9405