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Swiss Consumer Prices Remained Unchanged in August

Swiss consumer prices remained unchanged for a second month in August after more than 1 1/2 years of annual declines.

Prices held steady percent from a year earlier, the same as in July, the Federal Statistics Office in Neuchatel said in an e-mailed statement today. That’s in line with the median forecast of 16 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. In the month, prices decreased 0.1 percent.

The Swiss National Bank imposed a franc ceiling of 1.20 versus the euro two years ago, citing the risks of deflation and a recession. While the measure has helped Switzerland dodge the 18-month slump that afflicted the neighboring euro area, consumer prices declined for the longest stretch since at least 1971, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The SNB, which expects consumer prices to decline 0.3 percent this year, has “absolutely no reason” to give up the cap, considering the need to keep prices stable and the chance of the euro-area crisis flaring up again, President Thomas Jordan said in a Berner Zeitung interview earlier this week.

The cost of imported consumer goods fell 0.3 percent from the previous month and 1.8 percent from a year earlier, today’s report showed. Prices of domestic goods remained unchanged from July and rose 0.6 percent from a year earlier.

Under a European Union harmonized method, Swiss consumer prices fell 0.4 percent from the previous month and advanced 0.4 percent from August 2012, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Bosley in Zurich at cbosley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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