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UBS consumption indicator: Slight improvement in February
The UBS consumption indicator rises slightly in February after starting the year weakly.
Zurich/Basel, 26 March 2014 – The UBS consumption indicator rose to 1.57 index points in February from 1.49. A rise in the number of Swiss domestic tourists and new car registrations indicate higher private consumption.
During the winter months of December and January, the number of domestic overnight hotel stays by Swiss residents rose by 1.2% compared with the same period last year. This marks the continuation of a trend: the Swiss are happy to spend their vacations in Switzerland. Last year, Swiss residents spent 15.9 million nights in hotels in their own country, more than any year since 1991. This is an increase of 1.3% compared with the previous year.
After two gloomy years for the Swiss tourism industry, 2013's 2.5% rise in the number of overnight hotel stays brought welcome relief. Asian tourists in particular visited Switzerland more frequently. In 2013, Swiss hotel owners recorded a 10% increase in the number of overnight hotel stays by Asian guests. Asian tourists thus account for about 40% of the rise in overnight stays last year. The beds left empty by the crisis-stricken Europeans have been increasingly occupied by Swiss nationals and guests from Asia.
Car dealers had a weak start, but sales improved slightly in February. New car registrations rose by 3% compared with the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis. Cumulatively, new car registrations during the first two months of the year are still some 2% down on the same period last year.