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Swiss prices soar over EU neighbours

The price of goods and services in Switzerland cost about one third more in 2009 when compared with the European Union, Swiss authorities said on Monday.

According to an international price comparison index published by the Federal Statistics Office, buying meat, cooking oil, fish and other food items in Switzerland became significantly more expensive last year compared with what you could get for the same amount of money in neighbouring countries.

It is not that goods and services in Switzerland became a third more expensive during the last two years for those earning Swiss francs. Rather, the franc has grown so much against the euro since 2007 that real gross domestic product per capita in Switzerland has leapt 35 per cent against the European average.

In Germany, GDP per capita was seven per cent above the European average. In France it was 17 per cent. It was five per cent higher in Italy and 14 per cent higher in Austria.

The report found that buying meat in Switzerland was nearly twice as expensive as what you could get for the same money in the euro zone. Cooking oils were about 68 per cent more expensive while fish would cost about 50 per cent more.

Some prices in Switzerland were more in line with those in the EU. Tobacco products were just four per cent more expensive in Switzerland against the European average while automobiles cost about the same. Communications cost less in Switzerland (96 points) against the European average (100 points).

The report looked at prices in Europe over the last ten years. From 2000 to 2007, the cost of goods and services in Switzerland and those in the EU had been converging. From 2007 to 2009, however, the strong franc began to reverse that trend.

Your money would go the furthest buying tobacco products in Serbia. Your bills wither against an alcoholic beverage in Norway, where you’ll pay about 2.3 times more for a drink than the EU average.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR