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Rising fuel costs boost inflation

Swiss consumer prices rose 2.3 per cent in the year to September, the highest yearly rate seen since December 1993, according to the latest figures released on Wednesday by the Federal Statistics Office.

The September figure is a marked increase on the previous month. In August inflation was running at just 1.3 per cent.

The upturn in prices in September was attributed almost entirely to the increase in oil and fuel costs over the past month. The Federal Statistics Office said the September figure would have been up by only 0.3 per cent, year on year, if oil and fuel prices had been excluded.

Marcus Allenspach, an economist at Cantrade Private Bank told swissinfo: "The driving factor in September has been energy prices. Gasoline and heating oil together account for around five and a half per cent of the consumer price index basket - heating oil has almost doubled in price over the month with gasoline up sharply from its August levels."

However, the Swiss National Bank said it saw no reason to change its monetary policy after the September inflation figure came in above the bank's two per cent limit for price stability.

A spokesman for the bank said the new statistical method for calculating the consumer price index meant there were bigger monthly fluctuations but that the central bank was focusing on underlying trends.

"We do not base our policy on monthly inflation figures. There is no reason to change our policy," the spokesman said.

The SNB spokesman noted the bank was already forecasting inflation to increase to 2.1 per cent in 2001.

swissinfo with agencies


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