The business week in review

French motorists were forced to cross over into neighbouring Switzerland to fill up. Keystone / Markus Stuecklin

Europe-wide protests over the price of oil and continuing volatility on the currency markets dominated the financial headlines this week.

This content was published on September 16, 2000 minutes

The week began with Opec's decision to boost oil production by 800,000 barrels a day but the increase was criticised as insufficient by Western experts.

The increase had no noticeable effect on the oil price, prompting road hauliers and farmers to blockade roads and refineries in a bid to force their governments to cut fuel taxes.

Switzerland was spared the protests which brought much of Britain and Belgium to a standstill, and disrupted life in Germany and the Netherlands.

Nevertheless the government in Berne issued a statement saying it would not be cutting fuel levies. Road hauliers said higher transport costs may have to be passed on.

The franc hit historic highs against the euro before the single European currency staged a partial recovery later in the week. The strength of the franc led to the Swiss National Bank maintaining interest rates at their current level.

Pilots of the regional airline, Crossair, reached agreement on a new collective contract after months of dispute. Both sides welcomed the deal, which will give pilots higher wages and better terms.

And two Swiss insurers released half-year results this week. Swiss Re, the world's second largest reinsurance company, posted 28 per cent rise in net profits to SFr3.26 billion.

The Baloise insurance group posted a 24 per cent rise in its half-year net earnings to SFr300 million.

swissinfo with agencies

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