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UBS consumption indicator down due to drop in new car registrations

Zurich/Basel Media Releases Switzerland

The UBS consumption indicator fell slightly in August. An increase in overnight hotel stays and the improvement in business conditions in the retail sector could not compensate for the decline in new car registrations.

Zurich/Basel, 25 September 2013 – – The UBS consumption indicator fell to 1.32 index points in August from 1.41 previously. UBS does not regard this as grounds for diverging from the recently raised forecasts for the Swiss economy, since private consumption is likely to continue growing robustly and to remain the most important pillar of the economy.

The Swiss are again more inclined to take domestic vacations. The number of overnight hotel stays by Swiss nationals has risen by 1.3%, or 122,000 overnight stays, to 9.3 million since the start of the year, compared with the same period last year. Hotel stays by non-Swiss persons, a figure not included in the UBS consumption indicator, increased by up to 2.3% to 11.8 million. Following two very challenging years, there are increasing signs that Swiss tourism has bottomed out.

Retailers also assess their situation somewhat more positively again. The index for business conditions in the retail trade jumped to +3.5 in August from –4.5. In contrast, seasonally adjusted new car registrations fell by 1.1% in August compared with the previous month. In the first eight months, 9.2% fewer registrations were recorded than in the same period last year. However, the 2012 record benchmark year was very high. Despite the decline, the first eight months of this year have still seen the third-highest number of new car registrations in the last 10 years.

How the UBS Consumption Indicator is calculated

The UBS Consumption Indicator signals private consumption trends in Switzerland with a lead time of about three months on the official figures. At roughly 60%, private consumption is by far the most important component of Swiss GDP. UBS calculates this leading indicator from five consumer-related parameters: new car registrations, business activity in the retail sector, the number of domestic overnight hotel stays by Swiss residents, the consumer sentiment index, and credit card transactions made via UBS at points of sale in Switzerland. With the exception of the consumer sentiment index, all of this data is available monthly.


Media contact

Caesar Lack, UBS CIO Wealth Management Research
Tel. +41 44 234 44 13,

Sibille Duss, UBS CIO Wealth Management Research
Tel. +41-44-235 69 54,

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