Prices have increased by 1.7 percent year-on-year. This means that currency devaluation is slightly higher again than in the previous month.
What about inflation? Annual inflation in Switzerland was 1.7 percent in September. This means that it has increased slightly again for the first time in over six months, as the figures from the Federal Statistical Office (BFS) show. In August inflation was 1.6 percent compared to the same month last year. Since March it had fallen continuously from 3.4 percent to 1.6 percent in August. This means that annual inflation continues to be in the range of zero to two percent, which the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is aiming for.
What became more expensive? Inflation remains relatively high for domestic goods. In September these still cost 2.1 percent more than a year ago, while imported goods were only 0.5 percent more expensive. Among the main groups, “food and alcoholic beverages” (+3.8 percent) and “housing and energy” (+3.2 percent) were significantly more expensive than a year ago. In contrast, the areas of “communications” (-2.6 percent) and “transport” (-1.5 percent) were clearly cheaper than in September 2022.
How is inflation measured? The Federal Statistical Office calculates the prices of around 100,000 products and services every month – and looks at how they have changed. The so-called shopping basket includes groceries, apartment rents, car and public transport costs, energy prices, cinema ticket prices or restaurant meal prices. This also includes the costs for doctor’s visits or physiotherapy.
Why is the health insurance premium not taken into account? One major expense item for every household is not taken into account in the shopping basket for determining inflation: health insurance premiums. One reason for this is that health expenditure would otherwise be counted twice. The medical bill is paid by the patient herself and then reimbursed by the health insurance company (minus ten percent deductible and depending on the deductible chosen). This reimbursement is purchased by the patient through the health insurance premium. So if the medical bill and premium were in the shopping cart, the consultation would be counted twice.
Expansion in volumes does not equal inflation
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There is another reason why health insurance premiums are not taken into account in the shopping basket to determine inflation: Premiums can also rise because people are going to the doctor more often – and not because the doctor has increased his prices. And because the consumer price basket measures the price of the “thing in itself” – and not the quantity that is consumed – health insurance premiums are not taken into account when calculating inflation. This practice has been criticized for a long time. That’s why the BFS introduced a so-called health insurance premium index in 2001. This has increased by 125 percent for compulsory health insurance since 1999.
What’s next with inflation? The upward trend in inflation is likely to continue over the next few months. In October, for example, the higher rents or the renewed higher electricity prices at the beginning of 2024 will have an impact on inflation. The experts therefore expect the annual inflation rate to be just over two percent at the end of 2023. The federal economists at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) also assume this.