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Consumer sentiment has remained below the long-term average for several quarters. The latest survey in April 2016* shows hardly any major changes; only expectations over price trends have risen slightly.

Switzerland today deposited its ratification document to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) thereby completing the membership process. As no referendum was sought, and the deadline for doing so expired on 11 April, Switzerland will be able to participate as a full member on the Board of Governors and have access to the bank’s Board of Directors. Thanks to its swift completion of the ratification process, it will be able to participate in the institution building process.

Switzerland should consistently exploit the opportunities of digitisation in all areas of life. To this end, the Federal Council today adopted the "Digital Switzerland" strategy. This has immediate effect and will be continuously developed in dialogue with representatives from the economy, science, research and civil society. For Switzerland to succeed in the digital arena it is crucial for all stakeholders to work closely together. However, the previous strategy of the Federal Council for an information society in Switzerland, dating from 2012, was relevant only in terms of action by the Confederation.

Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer as Head of the Swiss delegation and Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, will take part in the joint Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., from 15 to 17 April 2016. In the run-up to the meetings, Switzerland will additionally take part in the second meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors under China’s Presidency. The global economic outlook and the situation on financial markets will be the key topics. In the case of the World Bank Group, the spotlight will be on the institution's role with regard to addressing new global development challenges.

On 13 April the Federal Council approved the Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) Annual Report 2015. Following moderate performance in the first three quarters, demand for SERV products rose significantly in the fourth quarter of 2015. Furthermore, the Federal Council increased the framework of obligation from CHF 12 to 14 billion; this determines the volume of transactions on the basis of SERV’s maximum exposure.

With an official development assistance (ODA) rate of 0.52% of its gross national income (GNI), Switzerland remained in 2015 in the top third of donor countries according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Switzerland ranks 8th among the 29 member states of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which will publish its ranking this Wednesday. Switzerland spends over 13% of its ODA on hosting asylum seekers during their first year in Switzerland.

Taking up China’s invitation to pay a state visit to the country, President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday, 8 April. The two sides agreed on an 'innovative strategic partnership'. This will give an added dimension and fresh impulse to Sino-Swiss bilateral relations. Prior to the meeting on Friday the Swiss president met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and a number of other ministers. Also on the agenda was the opening of the Sino-Swiss Economic Forum and visits to a number of businesses. On Saturday the president will round off his visit in Shanghai.

Registrierte Arbeitslosigkeit im März 2016 - Gemäss den Erhebungen des Staatssekretariats für Wirtschaft (SECO) waren Ende März 2016 155’324 Arbeitslose bei den Regionalen Arbeitsvermittlungszentren (RAV) eingeschrieben, 6’093 weniger als im Vormonat. Die Arbeitslosenquote sank damit von 3,7% im Februar 2016 auf 3,6% im Berichtsmonat. Gegenüber dem Vorjahresmonat erhöhte sich die Arbeitslosigkeit um 10’216 Personen (+7,0%).

Die Arbeitslosenversicherung schliesst die Jahresrechnung 2015 mit einem Überschuss von 0,61 Milliarden Franken und einem Schuldenstand von 2,6 Milliarden Franken ab.

President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann has been invited to pay a state visit to the People’s Republic of China between 6 and 9 April. The president will travel to Beijing and Shanghai accompanied by a delegation of business representatives and academics. High-level talks with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, the Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang, as well as with a number of other ministers, will take place in Beijing on Thursday, 7 April, and Friday, 8 April. Further meetings are set to take place with politicians and business leaders in Shanghai on Saturday, 9 April.

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