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Swiss Affairs

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05/26/13


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China and Switzerland on Friday announced the completion of talks concerning a new free trade agreement (FTA), the first to be signed between Beijing and continental Europe

Permalink 20:00:20, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 457 words   Chinese(S) gb2312 (CN)

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Categories: Econ/Stat

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China Daily: China-Switzerland FTA to benefit both sides, May 25, 2013

"BEIJING - China and Switzerland on Friday announced the completion of talks concerning a new free trade agreement (FTA), the first to be signed between Beijing and continental Europe.

A memorandum of understanding was signed during a meeting between visiting Premier Li Keqiang and Swiss President Ueli Maurer. The two sides also announced the establishment of a financial dialogue mechanism. However, they did not reveal when the FTA will be finally signed and put into place.

Xu Tiebing, an associate professor of international studies at the Communication University of China, said in a Friday report by the Beijing News that the FTA will benefit both sides.

Swiss financial businesses, including banks, will enjoy more advantages in obtaining permission to enter China, while China will be able to enter European markets more effectively by building corporate branches or joint ventures, Xu said.

Under the future FTA framework, Switzerland may help reduce trade barriers set by the EU against China, Xu said.

Cui Hongjian, director of European studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the FTA negotiations have set an example for future negotiations between China and other European nations.

Swiss companies in China have also been encouraged by the success of the negotiations.

Marco Cairoli, deputy president of Shanghai Roche Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a joint venture of Swiss drugmaker Roche Group, said the FTA will be very important, adding that he hopes it will go into effect as soon as possible.

Li said in a signed article published Thursday in Neue Zuricher Zeitung, a German-language Swiss daily, that with the advent of FTA, Switzerland will become the first country in continental Europe and the first of the world's top 20 economies to sign an FTA with China, adding that the implications will be significant.

He said the FTA has demonstrated that China is firmly committed to upholding multilateral trade, vigorously promoting regional trade liberalization and accelerating the implementation of its FTA strategy.

"A high-quality FTA agreement between China and Switzerland will also set a good example. It will not only upgrade our business and investment cooperation, but also send a powerful message to the rest of the world that we reject trade and investment protectionism and instead embrace trade liberalization and facilitation," the article said.

Statistics indicate that two-way trade between China and Switzerland exceeded $30 billion in 2011, a record rise of 50 percent compared with that of 2010. Despite the persistent eurozone sovereign debt crisis and uncertainties in the world economy, bilateral trade volume remained as high as $26.3 billion last year.

China is Switzerland's third-largest trading partner behind the EU and the United States, while Switzerland is China's seventh-largest trading partner in Europe."
Source: China Daily

Keywords: China, Switzerland, Free Trade Agreement

11/17/12

Permalink 09:30:13 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 129 words   English (US)
Categories: Econ/Stat

Dr. Thomas Jordan points out in his speech that the long-term restructuring of public finances remains unsatisfactory in many countries and that it would be disastrous for the long-term future of the global economy if the time slot opened up by monetary policy would not be used by politics.

Monetary policy in the financial crisis – Measures, effects, risks, by Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board, Swiss National Bank, Nov. 16, 2012

Keywords: Role of Central Banks, Monetary Policy

Related:

The evolution of the role of the Fed during various financial crises, a new St. Louis Fed working paper:

Carlson, Mark A. and Wheelock, David C., The Lender of Last Resort: Lessons from the Fed's First 100 Years (November 7, 2012). FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2012-056A. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2173391

10/26/12

Permalink 06:46:55 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 60 words   English (US)
Categories: Stock Market, Econ/Stat

Find here a presentation by a professor of the University of St. Gall about causes and consequences (as related to institutional investing) of financial repression:

Institutionelle Anlagen unter veränderter finanzieller Repression und danach, Prof. Dr. Rico von Wyss, Swiss Pensions Conference, Rüschlikon, 28. 09. 2012

Keywords: Institutional Assets, Financial Repression, Real Interest Rates

Related:

Handelsblatt: Welche Länder ihre Sparer am stärksten schröpfen, August 13, 2012

09/17/12

Permalink 06:51:23 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 197 words   English (US)
Categories: Real Estate, Econ/Stat

Christian Hott, Terhi Jokipii, Housing Bubbles and Interest Rates, Swiss National Bank, July 2012

Abstract:

"In this paper we assess whether persistently too low interest rates can cause housing bubbles. For a sample of 14 OECD countries, we calculate the deviations of house prices from their (theoretically implied) fundamental value and define them as bubbles. We then estimate the impact that a deviation of short term interest rates from the Taylor-implied interest rates have on house price bubbles. We additionally assess whether interest rates that have remained low for a longer period of time have a greater impact on house price overvaluation. Our results indicate that there is a strong link between low interest rates and housing bubbles. This impact is especially strong when interest rates are “too low for too long”. We argue that, by ensuring that rates do not deviate too far from Taylorimplied rates, central banks could lean against house price fluctuations without considering house price developments directly. If this is not possible, e.g. because a single monetary policy is confronted with a very heterogenous economic development within the currency area, alternative counter cyclical measures have to be considered." Source: SNB

Keywords: Interest Rates, Housing Bubble

07/27/12

Permalink 07:06:32 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 137 words   English (US)
Categories: Econ/Stat, Resources

Swiss newspaper NZZ has a graph which shows the value generation of the industrial sector as percentage of total GDP of various countries. The graph is based on numbers generated by Swiss think tank Avenir Suisse. The graph shows that Switzerland is a highly industrialized country. This might be surprising for some as the country has high labor costs. People who know the Swiss industry might be less surprised. The Swiss industrial sector is highly specialized and impressively productive. This is mainly due to high innovation. Innovation that has its roots in a dual education system: world class academic technical institutions such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich and Lausanne) and a highly structured apprentice system for technical professions.

NZZ: Der Mythos der Deindustrialisierung ("The myth of de-industrialization"), July 27, 2012

Keywords: Innovation, Education, Industrialization, Swiss Economy

06/09/12

01/14/12

Permalink 08:50:57 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 30 words   English (US)
Categories: Econ/Stat, Various

01/08/12

Permalink 11:41:05 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 339 words   English (US)
Categories: Various

BIS has interesting contributions to aspects of central bank governance. Of utmost importance are Yoshiharu Oritani's reflections on public governance of central banks. He applies Oliver Williamson's (one of Berkeley's Nobel Prize Winners) theory of “governance as integrity” (probity) to the internal management of central banks:

Yoshiharu Oritani, Public governance of central banks: an approach from new institutional economics, BIS Working Papers, March 2010

Here is an excerpt (page 13) about administrative controls and procedures of central banks:

"c) Extensive administrative controls and procedures"

"The “extensive administrative controls and procedures” pointed out by Williamson can be applied to a central bank almost in their entirety. When the various administrative controls described by Williamson are applied to a central bank, it is notable that insider trading regulations must be strictly adhered to by bank executives and staff. Such strict compliance is necessary since central bank transactions are implemented through financial transactions with private financial institutions and decisions on monetary control directly influence interest rates and various financial assets, all of which provide rent-extraction opportunities. The exceptionally high standards required of central bankers mean that the press and politicians will often criticize senior officials for actions that even hint of a conflict of interest.
A trade-off is also seen between the “clearly defined hierarchical authority” that Williamson considers a governance attribute of foreign affairs transactions and the necessity of innovation in central bank transactions. Excessively rigid hierarchical authority may carry the risk of slowing innovation in central bank transactions. But if central bank officials become too flexible or act in an ad hoc way, authority and responsibility would become ill-defined and might invite probity hazard. From this perspective, the “abolition of divisions in the department”16 conducted by the Bank of Japan in 2004 raises probity hazard concerns."

If the Hildebrand case has one good outcome, it is the fact that governing bodies of the Swiss central bank are now under pressure to improve the internal governance of the bank. The public will be grateful for such developments.

Keywords: Central Bank Governance, Swiss Central Bank

12/30/11

Permalink 05:40:32 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 20 words   English (US)
Categories: Econ/Stat

Source: The Economist

click on picture to go to The Economist's charts of the year 2011.

Keywords: Global Economy, Economic Year 2011

12/28/11

Permalink 11:02:11 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 76 words   English (US)
Categories: Behavioral Finance

Banks are going through difficult times in the Western world. In particular also in Switzerland where the Swiss banking secret has been loosened. Policy makers are well advised to provide a pro banking framework. Banks contribute by far over-proportionally to GDP (as link to official Swiss statistics shows). 2012 should be the end point of "bank bashing"!

MarketObservation.com: Schweiz: Produktionsleistung nach Branchen ---> Prosperität der drei Pfeiler Pharma, Handel, Banken/Versicherungen ist entscheidend, Oct. 23, 2011

Keywords: Swiss Banking, Bank Regulation

11/20/11

Permalink 09:01:26 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 377 words   English (US)
Categories: Various

"EVP, SP und Grüne haben eine Eidgenössische Volksinitiative zur Neuordnung der Erbschafts- und Schenkungssteuer auf eidgenössischer Ebene (BV 129a) lanciert: Die Initiative verlangt die Verlagerung der Steuerhohheit für die Erhebung der Erbschafts- und Schenkungssteuer von der Kantons- auf die Bundesebene.

Ziel ist eine nationale Schenkungs- und Erbschaftssteuer zugunsten der AHV: Die Steuereinnahmen sollen zu 2/3 zur Refinanzierung der AHV (Ergänzung von BV112) und zu 1/3 zur Entschädigung der Kantone verwendet werden.

Mit Hilfe einer allgemeinen Freigrenze von 2 Mio. CHF sollen Erbschaften aus der Mittelschicht wie Einfamilienhäuser geschont werden – eine zusätzliche Freigrenze sowie ein reduzierter Steuersatz sollen Familienbetriebe und KMU entlasten, Bauernhöfe sollen ganz steuerbefreit bleiben. Die Initianten betonen, dass die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Schweiz erhalten bleibe, da der Steuersatz von 20% im internationalen Vergleich tief sei."
Law-News

Eckpunkte der Initiative:

Initiative zur Erbschaftssteuerreform und ihre Eckdaten:

  • Steuerhoheit: Bund (kantonale Erlasse sollen aufgehoben werden)
  • Steuersubjekte: Nachlass natürlicher Personen mit letztem Wohnsitz in der Schweiz oder Erbgangseröffnung in der Schweiz und Schenkgeber
  • Steuerobjekt: gesamter Nachlass
  • Steuersatz: 20 Prozent
  • Steuerbefreit: Ehegatten und registrierte Partner sowie steuerbefreite juristische Personen
  • Freibeträge: CHF 2 Mio. und Gelegenheitsgeschenke von CHF 20’000 pro Jahr und beschenkte Person
  • Steuererleichterungen (bei Bewertung und Steuersatz): Unternehmensnachfolge / Landwirtschaftsbetriebe
  • Steueroptimierte Erbschaftslösung ab 1.1.2012 nicht mehr möglich
  • Für weiterführende Informationen wird die Seite "Law-News" empfohlen:

    Law-News: Eidg-Volksinitiative-Erbschaftssteuerreform

    Nicht-juristischer Kommentar MarketObservation:

    Die Initiative ist sehr unausgewogen und mutet wie eine "Neiderinitiative" an. Sie betrifft nicht nur Superreiche sondern Mittelstandsfamilien, welche es sich zum Ziel gemacht haben, über Generationen hinweg Reserven aufzubauen. Familien in denen das vorsichtige Wirtschaften (z.B. protestantische Arbeitsethik) bereits den Kindern vermittelt wird. Es wird oft unterschätzt, wieviel Vermögen bei bescheidenem Lebensstil auch bei mittelgrossen Einkommen über Zeit aufgebaut werden kann. Wurde dann in einem sich entwickelnden Gebiet auch noch eine Liegenschaft gekauft, wird die 2 Mio. Grenze oft überschritten. Nicht nur bei "Bonzen", sondern auch bei fleissigen, bescheiden lebenden Mittelständlern. Oft soll das durch harte Arbeit aufgebaute Vermögen den Kindern zur weiteren Bewirtschaftung weitergeben werden. Wiederum als Reserve und Stärkung der Familie. Genau solche Leute (verantwortungsvolle Mittelständler) haben die Schweiz stark gemacht.

    Übrigens würde die Umsetzung der Initiative Anreize schaffen, Familienimmobilien zu verkaufen. Profitieren würden u.a. Superreiche aus dem In- und Ausland und Banken. Vor allem in Fällen wo die Liquidität für die Bezahlung der Erbschaftssteuer nicht vorhanden wäre. Solche Fälle gäbe es viele.

    Keywords: Erbschaftsteuerreform

    11/07/11

    Permalink 05:57:57 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com, 43 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat

    NEWSPAPERS

    Cash

    Finews

    Handelszeitung

    Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Wirtschaft

    BLOGS

    Batz - Das Forum für Schweizer Wirtschaftspolitik

    Never Mind the Markets - Wirtschaftsblog des Tagesanzeigers

    Iconomix Blog of economic education platform Iconomix

    Permalink 07:00:59 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 55 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat

    The Swiss franc is still substantially away from purchasing power parity with the Euro, which is approx at EUR/Swiss Franc 1.35 to 1.40. The Swiss National Bank announced that it would be ready for further measures to weaken the Swiss franc:

    Reuters: SNB's Hildebrand says ready for more measures: paper, nov. 6, 2011

    Keywords: Swiss Franc, Swiss Franc Bubble

    10/23/11

    Permalink 11:26:46 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 141 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat

    Strict Standards: Declaration of File::dbupdate() should be compatible with DataObject::dbupdate($auto_track_modification = true) in /home/marketch/public_html/blogs/inc/files/model/_file.class.php on line 0

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    Beim sonntäglichen Zeitungslesen tut es ab und zu gut, die verschiedenen Aussagen von Journalisten und Politikern zu kalibrieren und auf der Homepage des Schweizerischen Bundesamtes für Statistik die verschiedenen Excel Dateien zu den Wirtschaftsdaten runterzuladen. Besonders interessant ist die Produktionsleistung nach Branchen (siehe Anhang zu diesem Post). Es wird einem klar, wie stark die Schweiz auf die drei wertschöpfungsstarken Pfeiler Pharma/Chemie, Handel und Finanzindustrie (Kreditwesen, Vermögensverwaltung, Versicherungen) aufgebaut ist. In der Summe spielen viele andere Branchen auch eine wichtige Rolle. Hier geht es nicht zuletzt um unsere vielen KMU Betriebe. Hätten Sie auch gewusst, dass der Anteil der "öffentlichen Verwaltung/öff. Sozialversicherung" mehr als 10% der gesamten Produktionsleistung ausmacht? Das muss finanziert werden! Die Schweiz kann es sich nicht leisten, einen der oben erwähnten drei Pfeiler durch unbedachtes politisches Handeln massgeblich zu schädigen.

    Keywords: Schweiz, Produktionsleistung der Schweiz nach Sektoren, Pharma/Chemie, Finanzen, Handel


    Strict Standards: Non-static method FileRoot::gen_ID() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/marketch/public_html/blogs/inc/files/model/_filerootcache.class.php on line 131

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    Attachments:

    10/14/11

    Permalink 10:03:16 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 99 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat

    Bank Sarasin's currency analyst Ursina Kubli expects that the Swiss franc will move towards Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) with the Euro. Expects EUR/Swiss franc at 1.30 next year. Thinks that a "speculator attack" would be irrational and that various speculators got a "bloody nose" when the Swiss National Bank pegged the Swiss franc to the Euro. (Knowing many investors we just can confirm).

    Cash: Börsentalk: "Spekulanten-Attacke wäre irrational", Oct. 14, 2011

    Related:

    MarketObservation: Confidence that Europeans will tackle economic problems more decisively; Swiss franc could slowly adjust to PPP with the Euro, Oct. 9, 2011

    Keywords: Currencies, Swiss franc, Investor Losses in Swiss franc

    10/13/11

    Permalink 10:50:42 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 51 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat, Various

    A German study, supported by Deutsche Telecom, the German Industrial Association, Fraunhofer Institute, United Nations University and ZEW concludes that Switzerland is the world's most innovative country. Major reasons identified are:

    - Economic Freedom
    - Political Freedom (strong Democracy)
    - Commitment to Education

    Source: innovationsindikator.de

    Keywords: Innovation, Innovation Index, Economic Freedom, Political Freedom, Education

    10/10/11

    Permalink 08:45:13 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com, 14 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat

    Handelsblatt: „Europa droht zum Krisengebiet zu werden“, Okt. 7, 2011

    Keywords: Europe, European Crisis, Eurozone Crisis

    10/01/11

    Permalink 08:34:51 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 106 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat, Various

    Switzerland will elect its parliament this October. A major subject of the election campaigns of the various parties is the Swiss economy. Some politicians currently talk of tremendously difficult times ahead for the economy. Even though many companies are still growing and a recession has not been forecasted by major economic institutes yet. For most people (even for economics professors...) it is almost impossible to judge which receipes could be good for the economy. Consequently, economic matters are difficult to understand which could be a fruitful basis for "politics of fear":

    Politicians can use fear to manipulate the public

    "The Science of Fear"

    Keywords: Elections, Manipulation

    09/25/11

    Permalink 09:49:16 am, by editor of MarketObservation.com Email , 37 words   English (US)
    Categories: Econ/Stat

    If coordinated action is ahead in the Eurozone we definitely think YES!

    Europe: Something big around the corner?, Sept. 25, 2011

    We continue to follow events and their consequences (as we do since Dec. 2006)

    Keywords: Euro, Dollar, Swiss Franc

    09/19/11

    Permalink 04:17:22 pm, by editor of MarketObservation.com, 17 words   English (US)
    Categories: Stock Market, Corporate Finance

    Thanks to Batz for the tip:

    Batz: Investment Banking: Denk- und Lesepause? Sept. 18, 2011

    Keywords: Investment Banking, TBTF

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