The study commissioned by economics minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, at the beginning of the year had two main objectives.
First, it would ascertain whether import prices were responding to a favourable exchange rate; second, it would see if companies were transparent about the benefits and were passing on their savings to customers.
In a statement, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said the advantage gained by consumers varied depending on the product category. Until June, prices for clothing, rubber and plastics, vehicles and vehicle components, and furniture remained relatively stable despite the rising franc. Prices also stood still for food and beverages, leather goods, shoes, electronic equipment, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and machinery.
By contrast, the prices dropped for petrol, natural gas, mineral oils and metal as well as products made from paper, glass, wood, ceramic and concrete.
The study concluded that consumers had benefitted very little from the price advantages enjoyed by importers.
On August 17th, the government announced that it would increase its efforts to monitor prices and competition practices. A few days earlier, as the Swiss franc reached parity with the euro, two of the country’s leading consumer groups called for immediate measures to cut the prices of selected imported products by 20 per cent.