For decades, the town of Visp at the foot of the Swiss Alps enjoyed the steady stream of affluent skiers heading to Zermatt and the tax income from chemicals maker Lonza Group AG. Lately, the inflow of money has ebbed.
Jonathan Spiel has tried three times to turn his Tea Lounge in Brooklyn into a thriving chain. Four years ago, he closed his second location after his landlord raised the rent. Another outlet failed because of poor sales, and he abandoned his last attempt when a co-op board imposed tough rules.
Abdullah al-Luhaymi spends weekend nights cruising around the Saudi capital Riyadh on his motorbike before stopping to meet friends, usually at an American-style fast-food joint. Each month he has more to choose from.
If the Swiss central bank abandoned its limit of 1.20 francs per euro and allowed the currency to appreciate, the consequences would be catastrophic for the country’s exporters, Hans Hess, head of industry group Swissmem, told Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.
Most Swiss industrial companies are holding off from shifting production to cheaper countries even as Switzerland’s strong franc makes labor costs 50 percent higher than in Germany, KPMG’s Swiss industry chief said.
The euro fell to a one-month low against the yen and slumped versus the dollar on concern Italy’s new government will struggle to win enough support to prevent the region’s debt crisis from engulfing the nation.