|Base metal watches|
|Human or Animal blood|
Switzerland, is a federal republic in Europe. While still named the "Swiss Confederation" for historical reasons, modern Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, called '" federal city". The country is situated in Western-Central Europe and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq. mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately eight million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.
Switzerland is a prosperous nation with a per capita gross domestic product higher than that of most Western European nations. In addition, the value of the Swiss franc (CHF) has been relatively stable compared with that of other currencies. In 2009, the financial sector comprised 11.6% of Switzerland's GDP and employed approximately 195,000 people (136,000 of whom work in the banking sector); this represents about 5.6% of the total Swiss workforce. Furthermore, Swiss banks employ an estimated 103,000 people abroad.
Swiss neutrality and national sovereignty, long recognized by foreign nations, have fostered a stable environment in which the banking sector was able to develop and thrive. Switzerland has maintained neutrality through both World Wars, is not a member of the European Union, and was not a member of the United Nations until 2002.
Currently an estimated one-third worldwide funds held outside their country of origin (sometimes called "offshore" funds) are kept in Switzerland. In 2001, Swiss banks managed US$2.6 trillion. The following year they handled US$400 billion less which has been attributed to both a bear market and stricter regulations on Swiss banking. By 2007 this figure has risen to roughly US$2.7 trillion, a record.The Bank of International Settlements, an organization that facilitates cooperation among the world's central banks, is headquartered in the city of Basel. Founded in 1930, the BIS chose to locate in Switzerland because of the country's neutrality, which was important to an organization founded by countries that had been on both sides of World War I.
The Foreign Banks in Switzerland Association reported that from the start of 2012 to the end of May 2013, the number of foreign-owned private banks operating in Switzerland declined from 145 to 129 due to the roll-back of bank secrecy regulations. Over the preceding five years, the foreign banks' assets under management declined by 25% to CHF870.7 billion Swiss francs ($921 billion) due to their clients paying taxes or withdrawing their money. Foreign banks in Switzerland saw their pre-tax margin decline from 38 basis points in 2007 to 20 basis points in 2012.
|Agriculture||Barely, wheat, sugar beet.|
|Manufacture||Machinery, energy and power, watches|
|Services (Including financial)||No Information|
|Cargill International SA||commodity trading|
|Base metal watches|
|Human or Animal blood|
SIX Swiss Exchange (formerly SWX Swiss Exchange), based in Zurich, is Switzerland's principal stock exchange (the other being Berne exchange). SIX Swiss Exchange also trades other securities such as Swiss government bonds and derivatives such as stock options.The main stock market index for the SIX Swiss Exchange is the blue-chip index, the SMI, or Swiss Market Index. The index consists of the 20 most significant and most liquid large and mid-cap SPI equity-securities based on the free float market capitalisation.
SIX Swiss Exchange was the first stock exchange in the world to incorporate a fully automated trading, clearing and settlement system in 1995. The exchange is controlled by an association of 55 banks. Each of these banks has equal voting rights in the matter of decision making concerning the management and regulation of the exchange.SIX Swiss Exchange is the joint owner of Eurex, the world's largest futures and derivatives exchange along with their German partners Deutsche Börse. In July 2004, however SIX Swiss Exchange rejected a merger proposal from the German company, that analysts anticipated as profitable for many small companies listed on SIX Swiss Exchange.
The European debt crisis has long extended beyond the Eurozone. Switzerland, has been especially affected, as its major trading partner is the European Union. Almost 60% of all its merchandise exports in 2010 went to the EU. Switzerland's most important trading partner is Germany, which purchases 20% of all Swiss merchandise exports.22 The impact on Switzerland can be seen above all in the development of the exchange rates. During the last two years, the franc increased in value significantly against the euro. On 9 August 2011, the euro reached a record low of CHF 1.0070. Only since 6 September, when the SNB announced its plans to defend the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 has the exchange rate for the euro levelled off between CHF 1.21 and 1.24.
The drama of currency developments is placed somewhat in perspective when the real exchange rate is taken as a base. But also in real terms, the Swiss franc has strongly increased in value against the euro in recent quarters. To decide whether the Swiss franc is overrated, we must answer the question of what a fair exchange rate is. As per the theory of purchasing power parity, this fair exchange rate would be about 1.35 francs to the euro.23 It should be taken into consideration, however, that there are large differences in purchasing power throughout the Eurozone. A fair exchange rate with Germany would be lower, for example, than an exchange rate with Greece.24 It is, however, clear that the Swiss franc is overvalued at its current rate of just over 1.20 to the euro.
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably it is not part of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area. However, the country does participate in the Schengen Area and the EU's single market through a number of bilateral treaties.
Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); and Svizra (Romansh). On coins and stamps, Latin (frequently shortened to "Helvetia") is used instead of the four living languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer.
The franc (sign: Fr. or SFr. or FS; German: Franken, French and Romansh: franc, Italian: Franco; code: CHF) is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein; it is also legal tender in the Italian exclave Campione d'Italia. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) issues banknotes and the federal mint Swissmint issues coins.
The smaller denomination, a hundredth of a franc, is a Rappen (Rp.) in German, centime (c.) in French, centesimo (ct.) in Italian, and rap (rp.) in Romansh. The ISO code of the currency used by banks and financial institutions is CHF, although "Fr." is used by most businesses and advertisers; some use SFr.; the Latinate "CH" stands for Confoederatio Helvetica.
Given the different languages used in Switzerland, Latin is used for language-neutral inscriptions on the coins.
Although 22 cantons and half-cantons issued coins between 1803 and 1850, less than 15% of the money in circulation in Switzerland in 1850 was locally produced, with the rest being foreign, mainly brought back by mercenaries. In addition, some private banks also started issuing the first banknotes, so that in total, at least 8000 different coins and notes were in circulation at that time, making the monetary system extremely complicated.
In order to solve this problem, the new Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 specified that the federal government would be the only entity allowed to make money in Switzerland. This was followed two years later by the first Federal Coinage Act, passed by the Federal Assembly on 7 May 1850, which introduced the franc as the monetary unit of Switzerland. The franc was introduced at par with the French franc. It replaced the different currencies of the Swiss cantons, some of which had been using a franc (divided into 10 batzen and 100 centimes) which was worth 1 1/2 French francs.
In 1865, France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union, wherein they agreed to value their national currencies to a standard of 4.5 grams of silver or 0.290322 grams of gold. Even after the monetary union faded away in the 1920s and officially ended in 1927, the Swiss franc remained on that standard until 1936, when it suffered its sole devaluation, on 27 September during the Great Depression. The currency was devalued by 30% following the devaluations of the British pound, U.S. dollar, and French franc. In 1945, Switzerland joined the Bretton Woods system and pegged the franc to the U.S. dollar at a rate of $1 = 4.30521 francs (equivalent to 1 franc = 0.206418 grams of gold). This was changed to $1 = 4.375 francs (1 franc = 0.203125 grams of gold) in 1949.
In November 2014, the referendum on the "Swiss Gold Initiative" which proposed restoration of 20% gold backing for the Swiss franc was voted down.
|National Song||"Swiss Psalm"|
|Currency||Swiss franc (CHF)|
|Languages||German, French, Italian, Romansh|
|GDP / GDP Rank||$496.0 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||0.9 percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$59,560.7 (PPP)|
|Interest Rate||3.23% (2016)|
President- Alain Berset
Vice President- Ueli Maurer
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||45.4 percent of GDP|
|Unemployment Rate||4.6 percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|