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Swiss Consumer Prices Continue Slump in February

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March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss consumer prices continued their longest slump in at least four decades in February.

Prices decreased 0.3 percent from a year earlier after dropping 0.3 percent in January, the Federal Statistics Office in Neuchatel said in an e-mailed statement today. That is the 17th straight month of annual declines, the longest stretch since at least 1971, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices rose 0.3 percent in the month. Those readings are in line with the median estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Consumer prices have continued to fall even after the Swiss National Bank imposed a franc ceiling of 1.20 versus the euro in September 2011 to fight deflation threats. The statistics office sees inflation at 0.2 percent in 2013 and 2014, while the SNB sees prices slipping 0.1 percent this year, before rising 0.4 percent in 2014, according to two separate December forecasts.

The cost of Swiss imported consumer goods declined 1.2 percent from a year earlier and rose 1 percent from January, today’s report showed. Prices of domestic goods rose 0.1 percent on the year and on the month.

Under a European Union harmonized method, Swiss consumer prices advanced 0.1 percent from a year earlier and 0.3 percent on a monthly basis.

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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