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The business week in Switzerland

The chairman of the Swiss Federal Railways, Benedikt Weibel (right), signs partnership agreement with his Austrian and German counterparts in Munich.

(Keystone)

More welcome news on the jobs front, a dent to the dollar's strength and a major deal for Swiss railways topped the business news this week.

Switzerland's jobless rate fell to just 1.9 per cent in May, the lowest figure in more than eight years. The figure for April was 2.1 per cent. Announcing the news, the economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, said he expected a further decline over the coming months.

The Swiss franc traded at near two-month highs against the dollar this week as expectations of further US interest rates waned.

The Swiss Federal Railways signed a deal with their German and Austrian counterparts to order 130 tilting trains that can be used in all three countries.

The fragrances and flavours company, Givaudan, made its debut on the stock exchange with a share price of SFr 535. Givaudan is a former division of the pharmaceuticals giant, Roche, which spun it off to better concentrate on its vitamins, diagnostics and drugs businesses.

The Federation of European Stock Exchanges used its conference in Lucerne this week to press for tighter rules about the release of market sensitive information. It wants regulators and watchdogs to release information out of trading hours.

by Michael Hollingdale

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