EconomyLoop
where regional business news becomes global to everyone

A reinvention that puts a premium on services

After a challenging few years, Zurich Insurance is redefining its identity. Oliver Ralph and Ralph Atkins meet the new boss. Zurich Insurance’s lakeside headquarters is just a façade. Behind the original frontage completed in 1901, nothing exists. T... read more

 SWISS INFO19 days ago

     
Critical Swiss-German rail route back to normal

Commuters using a busy stretch of railway between the Swiss city of Basel and Karlsruhe in Germany will be relieved to learn that services will return to normal on Monday following long-running repairs to a German tunnel. The Rheintal (Rhine Valley)... read more

 SWISS INFO20 days ago
Mercury pollution watchdog to set up in Geneva

Geneva will play host to the body responsible for implementing a global convention to reduce mercury pollution. Some 150 countries voted in favour of the Swiss city at the first conference of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which was also staged ... read more

 SWISS INFO20 days ago
Swiss watches for the mega-city Tokyo

Luca Orduña, 27, put all his eggs in one basket. At the age of 22, he went to Japan for the first time and set himself up in business. Fascinated by the varied cuisine and the natural environment, this adventurous entrepreneur still isn’t thinking ab... read more

 SWISS INFO20 days ago
Most cups of coffee contain a drop of Switzerland

Your fix of morning joe likely passed through Switzerland, since the country is the world’s trading hub for coffee. In fact, the Swiss export more coffee than chocolate or cheese. “Most coffee traders are present in Switzerland,” said Cyrille Jannet... read more

 SWISS INFO20 days ago
Unmanned couriers take to the air

A drone developer and a car manufacturer have teamed up to deliver products to customers faster, using a Zurich-based online marketplace as a platform for the pilot project. The airborne courier system made its debut on Thursday – with a delivery of ... read more

 SWISS INFO22 days ago
Swiss regulator probes ICOs following fake coin scandal

Ten days after shutting down a fake cryptocurrency scam, the Swiss financial regulator said it is investigating the procedures for setting up new companies in the rapidly expanding sector. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) iss... read more

 SWISS INFO22 days ago
Swiss increase quotas for non-EU workers

Switzerland will next year hand out an additional 500 residence permits to people from outside the European Union. Cabinet agreed on Friday to top up the quota from 7,500 to 8,000, responding to demands from business leaders.  The number of B permit... read more

 SWISS INFO22 days ago
Switzerland Tourism names new director

The top Swiss tourism body has announced that Martin Nydegger will take over from his predecessor Jürg Schmid as head of the organisation. The 46-year-old Nydegger has been a member of Switzerland Tourism’s executive board since 2008. A selection co... read more

 SWISS INFO22 days ago
WEF to expand Geneva HQ

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is set to expand with the addition of 120 staff and a new wing at its Geneva headquarters, WEF President Klaus Schwab has revealed.  The WEF founder told the Swiss business magazine Bilanz on Thursday that the expansio... read more

 SWISS INFO23 days ago
Health insurance costs keep on rising

Interior minister Alain Berset, whose portfolio covers health, is expected to announce a further rise in health insurance premiums, in what many consider is a further blow to consumers.  For adults, health costs are expected to go up by 4% in 2018, ... read more

 SWISS INFO23 days ago
Swiss bank data exchange deal stumbles in parliament

Switzerland’s commitment to share bank account information for tax purposes hit a speed bump as the House of Representatives voted in favour of defining specific criteria under which certain countries would be eligible, before any exchange can begin.... read more

 SWISS INFO23 days ago
Biometric face-scanning online at Zurich airport

Automated biometric passport control systems have started operating at Zurich airport on Wednesday as part of the airport’s drive to remain on top of increased capacity demands and keep queues moving at immigration checks. The face recognition syste... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Tourist offices set to disappear

The majority of Switzerland’s 350 tourist offices will disappear over the next few years, according to Switzerland Tourism. But as physical doors close, online ones could open.  “The number of offices will drop,” admitted Jürg Schmid at an event for... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Watch industry unperturbed by new ‘Swiss made’ regulations

The majority of Swiss watch executives surveyed by consulting firm Deloitte are positive about new rules requiring at least 60% of a watch’s manufactured costs to be incurred in Switzerland.  According to the Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study 2017... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
German branches of UBS searched by authorities

German authorities have searched offices of the Swiss bank UBS for proof of tax avoidance on the part of its clients.  According to the Wirtschaftswoche magazine, the search operations which involved around 130 agents were carried on UBS offices thr... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Swiss are no longer the richest in the world

In a photo finish, Switzerland has been knocked off its throne as the world’s richest country by the United States, according to the Global Wealth Report 2016, released on Wednesday by insurer Allianz. Don’t feel too sorry for the Swiss though. Net... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Rail tunnel history in the making

Exactly 25 years ago on September 27, Swiss voters gave the green light to the digging of two long rail tunnels through the Alps. A new generation of voters looks back on the work set in motion by their parents.... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Slow, steady debates about high speed trains

Travelling at speeds of 200km/h (124mph), trains have now been traversing the longest tunnel in the world under the Alps for a year. The achievement comes 25 years after the Swiss first said ‘yes’ to building the new Lötschberg and Gotthard Alpine ro... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Nestlé bows to investor and sector pressures with strategic shift

Nestlé has for the first time set a target for increasing profit margins, marking a significant shift from its traditional sales-focused model as the Swiss company reacts to competitive pressures facing big consumer goods groups. The world's larges... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Switzerland ranked world’s most competitive economy

Switzerland is again top of the class in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Index – for the ninth year in a row – narrowly ahead of the United States and Singapore.  It gained its highest ever score in the past ten years of the ... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Swiss-based expats report a mixed experience

Switzerland has ranked 11th in the annual HSBC Expat Explorer study, an overall drop only mitigated by its continued dominance in the area of economic attractiveness. The tenth edition of the report, which surveys foreigners living abroad on the ... read more

 SWISS INFO24 days ago
Fact check: the case for and against licence fees

A majority in both chambers of the Swiss parliament have voted against a No Billag’ initiative to scrap the compulsory Swiss TV and radio licence fee. We checked the claims of the politicians from the for and against camps. "The privileges grant... read more

 SWISS INFO25 days ago
Court confirms jail term of former Xamax owner

A Neuchâtel court has confirmed the jail term for fraud and other charges handed down to Bulat Chagaev, the former owner of Swiss football club FC Neuchâtel Xamax. The cantonal court on Tuesday confirmed Chagaev’s three-year prison sentence – suspe... read more

 SWISS INFO25 days ago
New Swiss tax data exchange deals raise red flags

The automatic exchange of tax information (AIE) between countries is generally seen as an effective way of cracking down on tax cheats. But what if a country uses the data to politically oppress its citizens? It’s a burning issue facing Swiss lawmake... read more

 SWISS INFO25 days ago
New Novartis chief eyes productivity revolution

Vas Narasimhan estimates that using digital technology more efficiently could save up to 25% on the cost of clinical trials. The incoming chief executive of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, has vowed to slash drug development costs, eyeing savings of up to... read more

 SWISS INFO25 days ago
Potential Siemens-Alstom rail merger could derail Indian Railways bid

Plans to merge the rail businesses of Siemens and Alstom could jeopardise a bid to build 5,000 electric coaches for Indian Railways, as the two companies belong to rival consortiums. Another bidder, Swiss firm Stadler Rail, also stands to lose.  On ... read more

 SWISS INFO26 days ago
Swiss expats buck the pension reform trend

Unlike their compatriots in Switzerland, Swiss voters who live abroad came out massively in favour of a wide-ranging overhaul of Switzerland’s old-age pension scheme.  Eleven of Switzerland’s 26 cantons count the votes of Swiss expats separately. An... read more

 SWISS INFO26 days ago
Vote reactions, tax data sharing and becoming Swiss

Here are the stories to look forward to on swissinfo.ch for the week beginning September 25, 2017.  Monday We’ll have reactions from the September 24 votes - 'no' to pension reform and 'yes' to food security. What will political pundits say... read more

 SWISS INFO27 days ago
Food security on Swiss voters’ menu

The Swiss are expected to vote overwhelming in favour of protecting local food production and prioritising sustainable farming practices. But what will the outcome of Sunday’s poll mean for imports?  While the expected vote result may bring a smile ... read more

 SWISS INFO28 days ago
Scientists find trick for longer-lasting foam

Tired of beer heads vanishing? Zurich researchers have found a method for producing more stable foam, with possible implications for both the food and construction industries. The research, done at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, aimed... read more

 SWISS INFO28 days ago
First autonomous transport service in Switzerland inaugurated

The launch of two autonomous shuttle buses in Fribourg on Friday marks the first time in Switzerland that such vehicles have been inducted into the regular transport network.  The “self-driving” electric minibuses link the Marly Innovation Center (M... read more

 SWISS INFO29 days ago
The UN has started to talk business

A growing number of business executives have been keen to sign up to the UN's latest pet project: the so-called Sustainable Development Goals. Until recently, if you'd asked most business leaders whether they would like to participate in the annual ... read more

 SWISS INFO29 days ago
Swiss annual growth forecast takes a cut

Swiss economic growth estimates for the year have been revised down to under 1% by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). This would make it the slowest year since 2009. The stats released Thursday predict a growth rate of 0.9% for 2017.... read more

 SWISS INFO30 days ago
What’s behind Switzerland’s vaccine shortage?

It’s one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet Switzerland is struggling to maintain stocks of 16 key vaccines, forcing doctors to adapt their practices. What’s causing the shortfall, and what’s being done about it? Primarily affected are ‘com... read more

 SWISS INFO31 days ago
All Swiss hepatitis C sufferers can access costly drugs like Harvoni

All patients suffering from hepatitis C can be treated with the drugs Harvoni and Epclusa from next month, after the Federal Office of Public Health lifted restrictions allowing the medicines to be reimbursed by mandatory health insurance. The two ... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
Swiss abroad need Swiss bank accounts

Big Swiss banks should make it easier for Swiss people living abroad to maintain a bank account, finds the Senate.  Senators voted 23 to 14 on Tuesday in favour of a motion to make the five largest Swiss banks provide accounts under reasonable condi... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
Scam cryptocurrency shut down by Swiss regulator

The Swiss financial regulator has closed down three companies linked to a fake cryptocurrency E-Coin amid fears that investors may have been conned out of millions of francs. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) said the probe is ... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
The king of chocolate in Mexico

A rags-to-riches career straight out of a film script: as a young man, the protagonist emigrates to Mexico. Once there, he becomes the first ever manufacturer of white chocolate and goes on to become an entrepreneur worth millions. The life of Gianfr... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
Are India's daughters a good return on investment?

The world’s first private, performance-based investment aims to keep girls in rural India in school. But can projects like the one supported by the UBS Optimus Foundation change societal attitudes that lead to high drop-out rates?  Nani doesn’t have... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
Occupational pensions, a hidden Swiss treasure

Occupational pension plans, obligatory since 1985, have considerable economic and social significance in Switzerland. The savings, which are now managed by pension funds and insurance companies, far exceed gross domestic product (GDP) and the reserve... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
Swiss review product labels from Israeli settlements

The government has rejected a proposed import ban on products from Israeli settlements in occupied territories, but agreed to review rules on product labels. In response to a question by the Social Democratic parliamentarian, Carlo Sommaruga, the go... read more

 SWISS INFO32 days ago
Swiss tourist industry wins support from parliament

A majority of parliament wants to restrict online reservation platforms in a bid to protect the Swiss hotel sector. The House of Representatives on Monday overwhelmingly approved a proposal and followed the Senate demanding that Swiss hotels will be... read more

 SWISS INFO33 days ago
A new cabinet minister, vaccine shortages and Swiss banks in Indian schools

These are the stories on our agenda for the week beginning September 18, 2017. Tuesday Is there a place for private, for-profit investment in the international development sector dominated by governments, non-profits and wealthy donors? We look a... read more

 SWISS INFO34 days ago
Stories making the Swiss Sunday papers

How the loss of banking secrecy has hurt Swiss banks, Neo-Nazis and jihadists in the Swiss army, and the role of language and gender when picking cabinet ministers are all making headlines in Switzerland this Sunday.  Banking secrecy  Swiss banks h... read more

 SWISS INFO34 days ago
‘I prefer to fight to change the system’

With one foot in Switzerland and the other in the US, Jonathan Lachowitz is a cross-border financial planner and advocate for residency-based taxation. His story is the fifth in our series on US expats in Switzerland. As many Americans overseas know... read more

 SWISS INFO35 days ago
Possible buyer for Air Berlin Swiss subsidiary

A potential buyer has been found for Belair, the Swiss subsidiary of insolvent airline Air Berlin, according to Swiss media reports which cite an internal communication to Belair employees. Belair management wrote that there was at least one offer ... read more

 SWISS INFO36 days ago
UNESCO status boosts wine trade in Lavaux

Wine producers in Lavaux, the spectacular wine-growing region on Lake Geneva, have been enjoying a boost in trade since the region on UNESCO World Heritage status ten years ago. (RTS/swissinfo.ch)  Enotourism, that is tourism whose purpose is the t... read more

 SWISS INFO36 days ago
Switzerland leads the way in internet connection

Despite advances in technology, more than half the world’s people still have no access to the internet. Switzerland, on the other hand, has the highest proportion of fixed broadband connections in the world, apart from Monaco.  “Broadband technologi... read more

 SWISS INFO37 days ago
Marmots invade Matterhorn area

“So sweet!”, coo the tourists. “Shoot them,” say the authorities in Zermatt, where marmots have become a plague. The furry rodents are causing damage to meadows and houses.  Visitors to the Matterhorn region love the animals and their warning whistl... read more

 SWISS INFO37 days ago