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Why is Switzerland about to become even more expensive?

Swiss prices are already notoriously high, but they are expected to climb even more. This is why.

Why is Switzerland about to become even more expensive?
A cup of coffee is bound to get more expensive. Photo byLUCAS BARIOULET / AFP

The reason for increasing costs is actually good: global economic recovery. It pushed the demand around the world for certain products and services.

There is also inflation, which could “temporarily exceed 1 percent in Switzerland ,” according to Matthias Geissbühler, head of investments at Raiffeisen Bank.

This number is still lower than in Germany (2 percent) and the United States (4.2 percent), he said.

What will get more expensive in Switzerland?

Gasoline has become almost 16 percent more expensive, while heating oil costs around 20 percent more.

Coffee and corn also cost a third more than at the beginning of the year.

“With the easing of measures to combat the pandemic, demand is increasing sharply around the world, while, at the same time, supply is stagnating.”, Geissbühler pointed out.

That’s because supply chains are still interrupted or limited in many places. Demand far exceeds supply, pushing prices up.

“With the pandemic, many freighters have temporarily suspended their activities. The tariff for the transport of goods therefore increases rapidly. The prices of other imported products, such as construction materials and microchips, will also rise in Switzerland”, he added.

This means electronics, as well as new houses, are bound to cost more this year.

The residents of Switzerland, including those who settle here from abroad, know that the country is especially pricey when it comes to food, beverages, hotels, housing, restaurants, clothing, and health insurance – or pretty much everything you need. 

Various studies have shown time and again that Swiss consumers pay much more for basic goods and services than their European counterparts, with the exception of Norway and Iceland.

For instance, one such study found that people in Switzerland have to pay 168 francs for a basket of consumer goods costing on average 100 euros in the EU.

In fact, in a new survey of expatriates around the world, those living in Switzerland said affordability was one of the main reasons they disliked living in the country.

In fact, 65 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with the prices in Switzerland, versus 34 percent globally.

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland ranked so lowly by international residents?

While in this particular case, global economic recovery along with inflation are to blame for rising prices, generally they can be attributed to protectionism and lack of competition, which are inter-related, as the former invariably leads to the latter.

Also, a study by the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland shows that foreign producers and suppliers impose large price increases in Switzerland, exploiting high salaries and consumers’ purchasing power.

This is the reason why so many people living in border regions go shopping in France, Italy, and Germany, where the same items are considerably cheaper. 

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland so expensive?

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For members


Can I have a fire in my backyard or courtyard in Switzerland?

The winter months are on their way and the weather is getting colder. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, can you light a fire?

White marshmallows toast over a fire
If you want to toast marshmallows in your backyard in Switzerland this winter, first make sure it's OK. Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Even if you own a property, the rules for what you can and cannot do in Switzerland can be relatively restrictive. 

As we covered in the following article, laws or tenancy rules can prevent you from doing several types of activities in your own backyard, including felling trees or washing your car. 

You can also be prevented from certain activities on particular days. For instance, rules, bylaws and tenancy arrangements may prevent you from mowing your lawn or hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. 

READ MORE: What am I allowed to do in my backyard or apartment courtyard in Switzerland?

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to stock up the fire pit, fire basket or fire bowl with wood and set it alight. 

The rules for lighting fires are also relatively complex. What you are allowed to do will depend on your canton, your tenancy arrangement and the type of fire. 

Can I light a fire on my own property in Switzerland? 

If you’re living in one of the few Swiss houses to have a fireplace, then you are presumably allowed to use it, unless tenancy regulations prevent it at certain times. 

You are also usually allowed to have a barbecue or grill either on your balcony or in your backyard, provided the noise and smoke is not excessive. 

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Switzerland?

Whether or not you are allowed to have a fire in your backyard however will depend on the rules in your canton. 

You are generally prohibited from burning any waste in Switzerland, other than typical forest or garden waste (i.e. wood, grass, twigs, sticks and leaves). 

That however can also be restricted at certain times of the year.

In Zurich, for instance, fires in backyards are only permitted from March to October, meaning that you will need to find other ways to stay warm in the winter months in Switzerland’s most populous canton. 

Even if lighting fires is permitted, you may want to check with the rules of your rental contract to see if you are technically allowed a fire. 

What about fires in the forest or open parks? 

A campfire might also sound like a nice way to spend a winter evening, but this may be restricted or completely prohibited depending on the circumstance. 

There is no federal ban on fires in forests and other outdoor areas, provided you are not burning waste (other than garden waste etc) and you are not producing excessive emissions. 

The rules are the same on August 1st, Swiss National Day, where special bonfires usually require a permit. 

Note that there are special rules for burning old Christmas trees, which is prevented by law.