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Swiss Retail Sales Fall Sharply

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The Swiss Federal Statistics Office has released details of the most recent Retail Sales data, today’s number has lead to some market disappointment due to the size of the fall back in this reading for April. At 0.4% year on year the number represents a significant miss on the 2.0% consensus estimate and also on the 3.4% expansion experienced in March.

Earlier this morning, Switzerland also update the markets on the latest official unemployment readings, these figures relate to the month of May and show a general improvement on an already health employment situations. The official headline Unemployment Rate came in at 3.0%, this is a gain on April’s 3.2% and also beat market consensus estimates of 3.1%. When the seasonal adjustment is taken into account then the Unemployment Rate only reads at 3.2% which is no change on April, markets had anticipated the seasonally adjusted figure to show a gain to 3.1%. Nonetheless this is a full employment situation that is not showing any signs of reversing.

In this nation of c. 7M people, unemployment fell to just over 130k, a drop of approximately 6,800 during the month of May. In the under 24’s category of youth unemployment the rate of unemployment is now just 2.7% compared to 3.0% in the month of April.

Just last month a referendum in Switzerland rejected the introduction of a Chf 22 per hour minimum wage, this would have ensured that Switzerland, the world’s 6th largest earners per capita, had the highest minimum wage in the world. The ever pragmatic Swiss voter also rejected a plan last year that would have provided for an extra two week’s paid leave for workers. Both of these initiatives would have proved hard to resist for workers, who are also voters, but in light of the current full employment situation it looks like the Swiss rightly focused on what was better in the longer term for the economy.

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