Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Banks losing clout in Zurich, study reveals

A new study sheds light on how hard the financial crisis hit Zurich’s banking sector, which lost thousands of jobs and subsequently saw its impact on the regional economy shrink. Canton Zurich is Switzerland’s largest financial centre, accounting for 41% of the country’s finance jobs and 45% of economic output that the sector generates nationwide. But the 2007/2008 financial crisis has taken its toll, according to the report by BAK Economics, which was commissioned by both the city and canton of Zurich. The two big banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, shed 2,400 posts between 2008 and 2016. Foreign banks with branches in the region and the cantonal bank also reduced headcount. This was partially made up for by an increase in staff numbers at insurance firms, leaving the total number of financial sector jobs in the canton at 91,000 in 2017. The economic contribution to the canton, both direct and indirectly by creating work for other sectors, such as IT, fell CHF5 billion ($5 billion) ...

More Swiss firms declare bankruptcy

The number of Swiss companies declaring bankruptcy rose again slightly in 2018 to 4,813. Construction, the trades and catering were the most affected sectors. Overall there was a rise in bankruptcies of 2% on 2017. December 2018 alone saw 450 insolvencies, although this was 5% less than the previous year. Only two regions recorded a drop in firms going bust: Zurich (-6%) and southwestern Switzerland (-1%), said a study by Bisnode D&B, a data and analytics provider, released on Friday. The regions with the biggest increases were northwestern Switzerland and eastern Switzerland. “Bisnode D&B’s analysis shows that construction, the trades and catering carry the biggest risk of bankruptcy. If you have debtors in these sectors, you should be aware that the risk of payment defaults due to bankruptcy more than doubles,” a statement said. + Find out more about how the strong franc has affected restaurants  There was, however, a small drop in the number of start-ups: 43,185 firms were ...

Time flies: iconic Swiss railway clock turns 75

The clocks in Switzerland's railway stations with their particular modern look have become an icon of Swiss design. The clock is the brainchild of Hans Hilfiker, an engineer with the Federal Railways, and was used for the first time in 1944. The timepiece remains eye-catching 75 years on. Hilfiker was inspired by the Bauhaus movement, a German art school noted for a synthesising technology, craftsmanship and design aesthetics. Instead of numbers, the clock face shows simple vertical lines as indicators and a rotating red second hand reminiscent of the traditional signalling disc of the station masters. Despite its age the design looks as young and fresh as ever. It served as a model for the clocks on the tablet computers which Apple introduced in 2012. In a bid to avert a legal dispute, Apple agreed to pay CHF20 million ($20.1 million) to the Swiss national railway company in exchange for the rights to use the clock design. It disappeared from iPads soon afterwards, when Apple ...

Gold prices gleam amid Brexit and US shutdown uncertainty

Futures rose more than 7% in fourth quarter amid stock market struggles as analysts offer sparkling outlook

The longest government shutdown in US history shows no sign of ending, Brexit is roiling Europe, trade wars are still in the offing and the stock market is acting like a spooked cat. And once again, gold is shining.

Gold often shines in times of trouble. The last time there was a showdown between a US president and Congress over government spending, gold prices shot up to an all-time high, about $1,925 an ounce. That was when a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, led by John Boehner, sparred with Barack Obama over whether to lift the debt ceiling or risk the US Treasury defaulting on its payments.

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UK manufacturers set cash aside in case of no-deal Brexit

Firms under strain as they tie up money in stockpiling materials, says Santander

British manufacturers are being forced to build up financial buffers in preparation for a no-deal Brexit as the cost of stockpiling goods and materials puts companies under strain.

Measures taken by manufacturers to prepare for a disorderly exit include creating cash cushions and taking out working capital loans to cover the costs of stockpiling.

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New calendar forces watchmakers to choose between fairs

The decision by Switzerland’s biggest watch fairs - the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and Baselworld – to run back to back next year has made life complicated for watchmakers.  On the penultimate day of the SIHH watch fair in Geneva an uninterrupted stream of Japanese, Chinese and European watch distributors and retailers keep the watch brand stalls busy.  The latest collections are unveiled to them in private rooms attached to the stalls. If sufficiently impressed, the international buyers will make the orders that will keep the Swiss watch industry afloat – that is until they have to do it all over again at Baselworld in March.  However, from 2020 onwards both fairs will be held back-to-back: SIHH from April 26-29 in Geneva, followed immediately by Baselworld (April 30 to May 5 in Basel). This new arrangement will continue until 2024. “We have sought dialogue with the SIHH and together have found a solution, which benefits visitors, the media, and the ...

Checks on both sides of Irish border ‘mandatory under no-deal Brexit’

Customs expert says extra costs and delays will harm small businesses and WTO rules would ‘kill UK farming’

European Union and World Trade Organization checks would be mandatory on both sides of the Irish border in the event of no-deal Brexit, one of the world’s leading experts on customs has said.

Michael Lux, a former head of customs legislation and procedures at the European commission, said the UK would have to impose customs checks and tariffs on the northern side of the border, despite claims to the contrary by Brexiters.

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