Currencies by Country:

What is the Swiss franc (CHF)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Switzerland a Aaa rating, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a AAA rating. Finally, S&P last issued a AAA rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

Central Bank Rate

The current central bank interest rate is 0.00%. This is the same as 2011, which was 0.00%.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $527,919,933,356 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $67,457. It grew by 2.71% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2012 is 3.50%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 104.49.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Federal Council:Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (Pres.), Ueli Maurer (VP), Dor, who is also the head of state (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Swiss franc, denoted CHF (which stands for the Confoederatio Helvetica franc), is the official currency of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The currency is used by the Central Bank of Switzerland.

The Swiss franc is the only remaining currency in Europe that is still named franc. The Swiss franc can be subdivided into hundredths known as Rappen in German, centime in French, centesimo in Italian and rap in Rhaeto-Romanic. The French names given are used in the English language.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

picture of swiss franc

Political Structure

The government of Switzerland is a federal republic and is very likely the closest state in the world to a direct democracy. The central government of can be divided into three branches: executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch.

In the executive branch the Swiss parliament and government in Bern are known as the Curia Confoederationis Helveticae. The cabinet is a 7-member executive council known as the Swiss Federal Council. The Council heads the executive branch and is elected by the Federal Assembly for a four-year term. The President and Vice President’s roles of the Confederation are largely ceremonial and are elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms.

The legislative branch of Switzerland is a bicameral parliament made up of a Council of States and the National Council whose members are elected to four-year terms. The two chambers together are referred to as the Federal Assembly.

Switzerland’s judicial branch is a Federal Supreme Court, with judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly.

Unique Characteristics

The CHF has been relatively stable to the Euro since mid-2003 at a value of about 1.55 CHF per Euro. The CHF rises and falls against the U.S. dollar in line with the Euro. Despite the currency trading roaming around the range of 80 to 90 cents, the CHF has little purchasing power. Goods in Switzerland cost about twice as much as they would in the US. The small purchasing power is made due to the CHF being widely used as a reserve currency by entities throughout the world.
Key Economic Factors

Economic Overview: Switzerland has remained a stable market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force and a larger GDP per capita than other Western European economies. The economic practices of Switzerland’s government have conformed to that of the EU’s to enhance their international competitiveness. Switzerland has consistently served as a safe haven for international investors as it has kept a certain degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc’s long-term external value. In addition, unemployment has remained at less than half the EU average.

Agriculture Products: Grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs

Export Commodities: Machinery, chemicals, metals, watches and agricultural products

Import Commodities: Machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals, agricultural products and textiles.

Major Trading Partners: Germany, Italy, France, Germany, US, France and Italy.

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