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Inflation reaches highest level for five years

Prices are slowly creeping higher - inflation is now at its highest level for five years Keystone

Prices in Switzerland rose by an average of 1,6 per cent in 2000 - the biggest increase for five years, and double last year's rate.

Figures released by the federal statistics office on Thursday show that inflation has risen above one per cent in Switzerland for the first time in four years – in 1995 it reached 1.8 per cent.

The office says the main factor driving prices higher was a hike in the prices of imports, which rose by 4.1 per cent. Goods produced in Switzerland, by contrast, cost just 0.7 per cent more than last year.

The statistics office expects that the trend will continue next year, with prices rising by 1.9 per cent. That is below the Central Bank’s predicted inflation rate of 2.1 per cent for 2001.

The inflation rate for December 2000 – 1.5 per cent – fell slightly compared to November, thanks partly to lower fuel prices.

The statistics show that the price of cigarettes and alcohol fell slightly, while entertainment, education and accommodation costs all went up.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR