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  #41  
Old 05.08.2011, 10:08
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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I for one don't like Euros, I mean WTF, all those coins, 5 cents, 2 cents, 1 cent, why not add 3 1/4 cents, 7 cents. Pretty stupid.
*sulk* Are you dissing Sterling?
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  #42  
Old 05.08.2011, 10:32
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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*sulk* Are you dissing Sterling?
... me dissing Sterling, mais non, pas du tout. god knows what you meant.
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  #43  
Old 06.08.2011, 11:24
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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I can never see the Swiss becoming part of the Eurozone, the people are too proud and do you think they want to be 'dicktated' by the Germans or French.
Not only that, if the Swiss join the Euro, you would have capital flight from CH!
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  #44  
Old 06.08.2011, 12:18
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

Before I launch into my rant: I am the general manager of a factory in Switzerland. This is literally killing me day-in, day-out.

The rising Swiss Franc is absolutely KLLNG manufacturing here. I have watched my margins compress by over a third in the last month on contracts we agreed to in May. i am contemplating an across-the-board 25% pay cut just to stay competitive. OF course, the union will kill that, but I need to fire the shot anyway.

As absolutely horrid as the situation is, and as much carnage it is leaving on the Swiss stock market, there is no way in hell the Swiss join the Euro, or peg to the Euro. Apart from cultural issues, we are seeing, over and over, that responsible, well-managed countries like Spain and italy are being destroyed by being forced to adhere to Germany's monetary policy. Nobody is really crying for Greece, they deserve it. But italy and Spain would be significantly better off right now were they not on the Euro - they would both be able to loosen their currencies to help enable the local economies to recover, and their relatively responsible budgeting could ride the economic recovery to increased revenues. But they are tied to a monetary policy geared to keep Germany's strong economy from overheating.

For a country the size of Switzerland (read: tiny) to sign on to a program to get crushed like italy and Spain, when they already have a well-established, stable currency is plainly batshit. IF Switzerland were, say, a former Soviet Republic trying to build confidence in tis commercial sector, the Euro would be nice. But once you have an established economy, you are better off managing your own currency. Look at Argentina through the 80's as an example...they were pegged to the US dollar, which was good for a while, but slowly started strangling them. They went off the peg, which nearly killed them at the moment, but today they are in far, far better shape.

Having said all that, the collapse of the Euro is also very very bad for Switzerland, for a different set of reasons. I takes a country that already is too expensive in everything it does, and makes it more intolerably so. f it Switzerland were in the Euro already, it would be much better for them, today. But as soon as Switzerland has a problem Germany DOESN'T have, they are going to start looking a lot more like Spain.

All of this was predicted by virtually every economist in the world when the Euro was formed. The intent of forming the Euro was the hope that it would also force a tight political union along with the currency union, but i think we can all agree that is very unlikely - i don't see any scenario where Greece will cede any more of its sovereignty to Germany than it already has. it's on the edge of revolt as it is. Because of this...i really only see "ordered dissolution" as the only viable outcome for the Euro. And it can't happen soon enough.
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  #45  
Old 06.08.2011, 12:26
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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I've got a stack of 20 pound notes at home I use when I run out of toilet paper. They make good fuel for the wood burner in winter.

I will swop each one of your 20 notes for a whole role of toilet paper if you want.
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  #46  
Old 06.08.2011, 12:36
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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that responsible, well-managed countries like Spain and italy are being destroyed by being forced to adhere to Germany's monetary policy.
Come again? Italy and Spain could not wait to get the Euro back in the days to stabilize their currencies. Spain is so well managed that it has by far the highest unemployment quote of one quarter - and even higher among young people. That's not well managed at all in my view. They had no problem with the loads of foreign investments as long as the obvious housing bubble grew - they didn't do anything to prevent it either.

And Italy is just a mess, Mr. Berlusconis economic policies were far from "responsible". The reality is that all those countries joined the Euro because they thought they can get monetary stability for free - make debt but stay strong thanks to the union. Greece actively cheated in their application to actually make it into the Euro. That's not responsible either.

And just for the record: The ones who lost most are not Spanish or Italians - its the German tax payer and "common man". The manufacturing industry loves the weak Euro... but the normal employee gets actually less purchaisng power today for his work than in 1991! And don't get me started what the current rates mean for the pension savings of my parents or the value of their house.
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  #47  
Old 06.08.2011, 12:56
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

As at yesterday, the exchange rate poster on the wall in the Burger King in Zurich HB read as follow:

1 CHF = 1 EUR
1 USD = 0.70 CHF

Over the last two weeks, I have seen the GBP come to 1.29.

Personally I hate the whole EU concept. The North South prosperity divide is just too obvious to ignore. It is not a coincidence that whenever a new trashy country joins the EU, their population more or less deserts the "country" [Feel free to plug in any recent Country that just joined] for Germany, UK, France or Switzerland.

Like most of the situations in the world, we will do better to look at the psychological impacts as opposed to just figures.
I am sure on paper the figures on what the EU would theoretically generate as a united bloc looked appealing...provided everyone was on equal footing and unified psychologically. Oh well...
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Old 06.08.2011, 13:11
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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Personally I hate the whole EU concept.
I love it. My grandfather was a soldier in WW2. His dad in WW1. His dad in the Franco-Prussian war... fact is that the EU is the single most stable concept for Europe since Charlemagne.

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The North South prosperity divide is just too obvious to ignore. It is not a coincidence that whenever a new trashy country joins the EU, their population more or less deserts the "country" [Feel free to plug in any recent Country that just joined] for Germany, UK, France or Switzerland.
The only problem with this statement is that it actually did not happen on a large scale (or bring sources that proof the opposite). The new countries benefit from the EU so their economies grow - so there are new jobs... sure people go abroad for some time and enjoy their new freedom - that's what you are doing here as well, no? But there is absolutely no mass exodus from Poland into Germany or similar. Switzerland has huge prosperity divides as well, but people do not move all out of the poorer parts.
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  #49  
Old 06.08.2011, 13:14
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

Aren't swiss manufacturing companies benefiting from low cost raw material due to the strong CHF?
Actually swiss consumer should see a much lower cost of shopping basket...but isn't really the case unfortunately
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Old 06.08.2011, 14:49
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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Come again? Italy and Spain could not wait to get the Euro back in the days to stabilize their currencies. Spain is so well managed that it has by far the highest unemployment quote of one quarter - and even higher among young people. That's not well managed at all in my view. They had no problem with the loads of foreign investments as long as the obvious housing bubble grew - they didn't do anything to prevent it either.

And Italy is just a mess, Mr. Berlusconis economic policies were far from "responsible". The reality is that all those countries joined the Euro because they thought they can get monetary stability for free - make debt but stay strong thanks to the union. Greece actively cheated in their application to actually make it into the Euro. That's not responsible either.

And just for the record: The ones who lost most are not Spanish or Italians - its the German tax payer and "common man". The manufacturing industry loves the weak Euro... but the normal employee gets actually less purchaisng power today for his work than in 1991! And don't get me started what the current rates mean for the pension savings of my parents or the value of their house.
Spain ran with a lower debt-to-GDP ratio than Germany when times were good. Their economy was over-centered on real estate, so they were hit harder than most, but there was no Greek-style falsifying of books, cheating on taxes, or massive shift onto government payroll. Even today, with the depressed economy, they have done their part to implant austerity programs, and need relatively little assistance from Germany.

italy's current budget is in a primary surplus, on the 10th largest economy in the world. Yes, Berlusconi is a scumbag, but the government has kept its finances in good order.

I will take pains to note that I was contrasting those to Greece, which demonstrated a complete lapse of ethics.

You also want to be careful saying the Germans lost the most at the point in time when their economy is thundering along, and the softness of the Euro is increasingly their profitability is their very sizable export sector. I think countries of massive unemployment, where the "common man" is seeing his salary forced to shrink (often to zero) while his debts remain in place is also losing a hell of a lot. The people in Germany at risk of losing something are the banks, who are the primary counterparts on much of the Greek debt, which is why the German government is ponying up the cash.

A lot of people are unhappy with the Euro, but i think the countries with economies that are severely depressed, wit massive unemployment, so Germany can get exactly the monetary policy it wants are probably hurting more than the country that is blowing cash at them.

That said - the effects on your family's pension funds are absolutely real, and i don't want to minimize those.
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  #51  
Old 06.08.2011, 14:54
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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Aren't swiss manufacturing companies benefiting from low cost raw material due to the strong CHF?
Actually swiss consumer should see a much lower cost of shopping basket...but isn't really the case unfortunately
Only for product they sell into Switzerland. if I buy in Euros, and sell in Euros, it doesn't much matter that there was a time in the middle it was in Swiss Francs. Also, raw materials may be a minority component of cost. For instance, the silicon that goes into computer chips is nearly free. But the purifying, crystallizing, orienting, wafering, lithography, etc makes up 99% of the cost.

In my business, we buy a lot of rare earths, whose prices have skyrocketed. That has helped, actually, since I buy those in USD, and the USD/EUR exchange has been relatively stable, so the CHF part of my costs (labor,utility) has been diluted. Still, labor is about half my costs (those sky-high Swiss salaries hurt). Also, the rare earth crisis has helped to justify the price increases i am pushing out over currency AND raw materials. However, the currency is moving too fast now, changing 10% in 4 weeks, when my lead times are 8-12 minimum, plus net 30 on the payment. There is very little support for going cash-in-advance, so we are now quoting CHF, with market rate at time of payment.
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Old 06.08.2011, 15:02
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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The only problem with this statement is that it actually did not happen on a large scale (or bring sources that proof the opposite). The new countries benefit from the EU so their economies grow - so there are new jobs... sure people go abroad for some time and enjoy their new freedom - that's what you are doing here as well, no? But there is absolutely no mass exodus from Poland into Germany or similar. Switzerland has huge prosperity divides as well, but people do not move all out of the poorer parts.
This.

it's starting to become known that Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Romania, are now cheaper places to manufacture than China, because of reduced import/export costs, reduced transport costs, simpler regulatory environments, and reduced currency exposure (even though PRC manipulated of RMB prices is still very effective).
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  #53  
Old 06.08.2011, 16:16
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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italy's current budget is in a primary surplus, on the 10th largest economy in the world. Yes, Berlusconi is a scumbag, but the government has kept its finances in good order.
Are you by any chance Italian?

Reality check: The Italian debt was at 116% of the countries GDP last year. If I had more debts at the bank than I earn gross in a year, I would not call my situation "in good order".

Spain indeed had it's finances very well under control - at another cost: The country has still an education system that the OECD calls one of the poorest in an developed country. That's why there are so many young unemployed - over 40%!
I'd overall put my money rather on Spain than Italy though.
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  #54  
Old 06.08.2011, 16:36
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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This is literally killing me day-in, day-out.
Not literally, I suspect.

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Are you by any chance Italian?

Reality check: The Italian debt was at 116% of the countries GDP last year. If I had more debts at the bank than I earn gross in a year, I would not call my situation "in good order".
Ever had a mortgage? Most people who buy property have debts that significantly exceed their annual income. 116% isn't so bad in and of itself; what matters is the burden of that debt in combination with their other commitments (operating costs, etc.).
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:32
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

And just to keep everybody happy:
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  #56  
Old 06.08.2011, 17:54
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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A lot of people are unhappy with the Euro, but i think the countries with economies that are severely depressed, wit massive unemployment, so Germany can get exactly the monetary policy it wants are probably hurting more than the country that is blowing cash at them.
Ok, two points:

1) it's not the German governments money - it comes from the tax payers. So what we have here is a German banking sector that gets high interest rates - something you typically get for taking a risk - but if the countries can't pay anymore, the German tax payer jumps in. The banks simply can't lose... I fail to see how this is good for Germany - it's good for the banks and their shareholders. Yes, the shareholders of production oriented companies as Siemens, VW and so on benefit a lot as well. One can argue that the small man benefits in form of job security, but overall is it one big machine pumping tax money to the rich. No, I don't think that's a good thing. But that's what you get if you vote CDU...

2) It's not "Germanys monetary policies" - Germany had a VERY stable Mark and we accepted that this stability hurt our factories, it was simply the better long-term strategy. So there were naturally loads of discussions on the Euro policies before all countries agreed to a compromise between the German way or "keep it low to fuel the economy" as the Italian Lira... they all agreed to it and nobody was in any way forced to join the Euro. Actually were most Germans against it and did not trust Italian and Spanish politicians enough to believe they'd keep the currency stable. And they were right in not trusting them. The ECB can make some policies that do have effects but overall is the Euro weak because the economy is weak - specifically the PIGS screw up. I don't at all agree to statements like "they were hit by the crisis" - their governments actively screwed up. Don't blame the US sub-prime or anything else for it if you do not have your act together - everyone in his right mind could see that the construction sector in Spain was massively overheating. Everyone in his right mind can guess that the public spending in Greece was too high. And yes, everyone can see that Italy has a rather weak economic outlook- so not much to counter the debt burden they piled up.
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Old 06.08.2011, 17:58
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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Aren't swiss manufacturing companies benefiting from low cost raw material due to the strong CHF?
Actually swiss consumer should see a much lower cost of shopping basket...but isn't really the case unfortunately
A) the low costs of the raw material is the reason why Swiss industry survived
B) Swiss consumers DO see lowever costs of shopping IF the see --- it IS the case fortunately
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Old 06.08.2011, 18:29
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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A) the low costs of the raw material is the reason why Swiss industry survived
B) Swiss consumers DO see lowever costs of shopping IF the see --- it IS the case fortunately
WTF? Wolli, I'm sorry if you think I'm picking on you, but if you continue to make these bizarre statements then yes, I'm picking on you.

In what way do Swiss consumers see the flow-on ebenfit of cheaper imports? Please show me how retail prices for such luxuries as food, for example, have reduced in Switzerland in line with the hugely discounted euro, pound sterling and US dollar.
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Old 06.08.2011, 18:44
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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A) the low costs of the raw material is the reason why Swiss industry survived
B) Swiss consumers DO see lowever costs of shopping IF the see --- it IS the case fortunately
I can only disagree on that:
1) from personal shopping experience, I don't see a difference
2) as reported in this swissinfo article (22 July 2011) the strong franc has no impact on our shopping basket so far.
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Old 06.08.2011, 18:50
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Re: Swiss to Join Euro?

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WTF? Wolli, I'm sorry if you think I'm picking on you, but if you continue to make these bizarre statements then yes, I'm picking on you.

In what way do Swiss consumers see the flow-on ebenfit of cheaper imports? Please show me how retail prices for such luxuries as food, for example, have reduced in Switzerland in line with the hugely discounted euro, pound sterling and US dollar.
Now, sorry, please relax. I never said that Swiss customers profit(ted) of tthe drop of the Euro against the CHF as they should. I have explained that this was investigated by Swiss TV recently.
A) Much of the merchandise comes in via either GSAs or outlets of the producers who both NEVER handed on any of their additional profits
B) many contracts were fixed in CHF and for example NIVEA was not ready to lower their Switzerland tariffs
C) If you are not in foodstuff but in other branches, you can circumvent the exceedingly high Switzerland-tariffs of German suppliers by routing your stuff via your partner in the United Kingdom and than have it trucked over
C-2 --- this is NOT a joke, but bitter reality
C-3 --- I had to tell a German supplier that I had to re-route the stuff via our British partner in Reigate if they in case of "NON-EU" tariffs for Switzerland were their last word. They then dropped down and became normal.
C-3 --- I when asking for quotes from German suppliers asked for delivery costs for BOTH CH AND U.K. .... with astonishing results
D) YES, many foodstuff in Zurich area, of EU origin, outlets of Migros, COOP, Aldi, Lidl, Spar, HAVE become cheaper in recent months. Simply go there and watch. Amazing is the Swiss local suppliers of food lowered their prices in anticipation of lower EU tariffs

D-2 : But when going, look out for stuff of EU origins

E) When purchasing US wines, prices drop by 10% when the US$ goes down 20%, but go UP again by 30% when it stabilizes

F) Austrian wines in Bregenz are far cheaper then when bought from an Austrian company in Zurich, as they here insist on their "Switzerland-tariff" (in CHF)

G) To say it again, we circumvent the CH tariffs of those extremely expensive German suppliers at times by getting them via our Reigate-based partner. Strange ? No, this is how the markets work !

Last edited by Wollishofener; 06.08.2011 at 19:03.
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