The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.3% in May 2019 compared with the previous month, reaching 102.7 points (December 2015 = 100). Inflation was 0.6% compared with the same month of the previous year. These are the results of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
The 0.3% increase compared with the previous month can be explained by several factors including rising prices for fuel and for international package holidays. In contrast, prices for hotel accommodation and books decreased.
Switzerland dedicated CHF 22.6 billion to research and development (R&D) in 2017, 2% more than in 2015, the year of the last survey. Enterprises remained the main producers of research accounting for more than two thirds of expenditure. They nonetheless curbed their expenditure contrary to higher education institutions. These are the main findings from the surveys carried out by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) on research and development.
The various stakeholders in Switzerland dedicated CHF 22.6 billion in 2017 to their own R&D activities. Enterprises invested CHF 15.6 billion, i.e. more than two thirds of the total while higher education institutions spent 6.2 billion, accounting for more than a quarter of the total amount.
Over the past 9 years, growth in R&D expenditure has slowed. Between 2008 and 2012, the annual average rate was 5% and then fell to 3% between 2012 and 2015 before reaching 1% for the period from 2015 to 2017. However, the total expenditure amount has continued to increase over the years, with new records seen in every survey.
Turnover in the retail sector fell by 0.5% in nominal terms in March 2019 compared with the previous year. Seasonally adjusted, nominal turnover fell by 0.1% compared with the previous month. These are provisional findings from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).
Real turnover in the retail sector also adjusted for sales days and holidays fell by 0.7% in March 2019 compared with the previous year. Real growth takes inflation into consideration. Compared with the previous month, real, seasonally adjusted retail trade turnover registered a decline of 0.2%.
Retail sector excluding service stations
Adjusted for sales days and holidays, the retail sector excluding service stations showed a 0.3% decrease in nominal turnover in March 2019 compared with March 2018 (in real terms –0.6%). Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered an increase in nominal turnover of 0.5% (in real terms –0.4%), whereas the non-food sector registered a nominal negative of 0.5% (in real terms –0.4%).
Excluding service stations, the retail sector showed a seasonally adjusted stagnation in nominal turnover compared with the previous month (in real terms –0.2%). Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered a plus of 0.3% (in real terms +0.3%). The non-food sector showed a minus of 0.3% (in real terms –0.5%).
Visitors to the EFTA States are frequently astonished at the high prices for goods and services. Official statistics confirm that the price levels in Iceland, Switzerland and Norway are the highest in Europe. In 2017, the overall price level in Iceland was 72 percent higher than the EU average, while the corresponding figures for Switzerland and Norway were 66 and 52 percent.
Although there have been substantial changes over time, Norway and Switzerland have been among the most expensive countries in Europe at least since the 1990s. High productivity of the work force, with corresponding high salaries, is an important factor behind the high price levels. Other factors influencing a country's price level are exchange rates and inflation.