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Business review

The week in Switzerland was dominated by speculation over whether interest rates would be increased by the Swiss National Bank. However Monday was a quiet start to trading as dealers stayed away from the desks because of the public holiday.

- Tuesday, Switzerland's Sanar Polymer bought US automotive part supplier, Blue Water Pastics, paying SFr215 million.

- Tuesday, the Swiss government said it wants to be able to sell its majority stake in telecom group, Swisscom. It also wants to create a Postbank as a means for the postal service to finance mail and deliveries.

- Wednesday, Holderbank signed a ten year lease to manage and operate the Sharr cement plant in Kosovo. It was the first such deal involving a foreign firm since the end of inter-ethnic strife.

- Wednesday, Switzerland's supermarket on the Internet, Le-Shop, announced plans to enter the German and Argentine markets later this year.

- Wednesday, a survey from the University of Applied Science in Solothurn reports that only 16 per cent of new businesses in Switzerland are created by women.

- Thursday, the Swiss National Bank increased its target range for interest rates by 50 basis points. The target range increased from 2.5-3.5 per cent to 3.0-4.0 per cent.

- Thursday, Switzerland's largest telecommunications group, Swisscom, launched a business-to-business electronic market place with the aim of becoming the biggest such market in the country.

- Friday, Switzerland's Economic Affairs Minister, Pascal Couchepin, addresses the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich. He speaks about "facing globalisation in a forward looking partnership".

by Tom O'Brien.

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