Swiss Consumer Confidence Fell After SNB Cap Exit, Survey Finds

A pedestrian passes a display at a luxury wristwatch store in Zurich.

Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

Confidence among Swiss consumers declined after the Swiss National Bank gave up its ceiling on the franc, a survey published today found.

While the index of consumer confidence measured minus 6 in January, compared with minus 11 in October, the portion of the survey conducted after Jan. 15 revealed a reading of minus 17, according to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, also known as SECO.

Analysts predict Swiss economic growth will lose pace this year after the central bank stunned markets on Jan. 15 by giving up its ceiling on the franc of 1.20 per euro. The franc has been trading near parity since then.

The stronger currency has been welcomed by local shoppers, many of whom cross the border to stores in neighboring France and Germany to take advantage of lower prices. At the same time, the franc’s strength is proving a burden for many companies.

In a separate statement, the SECO said it was difficult to gauge the extent of a possible slowdown in economic activity due to the franc’s rise. It will issue a new forecast on March 19.

Drugmaker Roche Holding AG has said the currency’s surge may erode profit growth this year and competitor Novartis AG said it will seek to cut costs in Switzerland. Dental-implant maker Straumann Holding AG limited bonus payments and cut its chief executive’s compensation.

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