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This week in business

One of the key events of the week is expected to be the mid-year news conference by the Swiss National Bank. On Thursday, the bank will announce whether it will follow the European Central Bank's decision last week to raise interest rates.

Any increase would be seen as an effort to curb inflationary pressure within Switzerland, and would also offer the Swiss franc support against the US dollar.

The franc has been moving higher against the US unit as the economic recovery in North America slows, this in turn is helping the euro find its feet against the dollar.

On the corporate front this week, Swisscom will be unveiling details on Thursday of its latest e-commerce venture. At a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland's biggest telecommunications group will be outlining the details for the next stage in its business-to-business e-commerce strategy.

Women's banking will also be the focus of a conference scheduled for Thursday in Zurich. Representatives of Women's World Banking (WWB) will be meeting for the first time since 1993. The WWB supports small banking and credit enterprises for women in the developing world, currently its working in 44 projects in 37 different countries.

On Friday, attention will be drawn to the speech of Switzerland's economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, at the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich. He will be looking at "Switzerland and the USA - Facing Globalisation in a Forward Looking Partnership". He will be joined by the US Ambassador to Switzerland, Richard Fredericks.

by Tom O'Brien

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