Swiss Consumer Prices Fell for Seventh Month in April

Swiss consumer prices dropped for a seventh straight month in April as the Swiss franc’s gains lowered costs of imported goods.

Consumer prices declined 1 percent from a year ago after falling by the same rate in March, the Federal Statistics Office in Neuchatel said in an e-mailed statement today. In the month, prices gained 0.1 percent. Costs of imported goods fell 3.6 percent from the previous year.

The franc’s surge to record levels prompted the Swiss National Bank to impose a cap of 1.20 per euro in September to protect the economy and fight deflation. Swiss central bank president Thomas Jordan last month said policy makers are prepared to take “further measures” should the “threat of deflation require it.”

“The fall in prices is still due to the franc’s appreciation in 2011,” said Cornelia Luchsinger, an economist at Zuercher Kantonalbank in Zurich. “Year-on-year rates will climb over the coming months and reach positive territory toward the end of the year.”

The year-on-year decline was more than forecast as economists projected a decrease of 0.9 percent, the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows.

Under a European Union harmonized method, Swiss consumer prices were unchanged from the previous month and dropped 1.1 percent in the year, today’s report showed.

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