ZURICH - Switzerland needs to raise less money this year from selling government bonds than previously thought, the government said on Tuesday, due to unused money from the emergency funding to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Federal Finance Administration said the actual cost of support measures to deal with the pandemic is estimated to be 18.7 billion Swiss francs ($20.24 billion) this year, less than the 24.6 billion francs approved in the 2021 budget.
"According to the first extrapolation for 2021, the approved expenditure to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic has not been fully utilised in all areas," it said. "Accordingly, the Confederation's funding requirements for the current year are lower."
It now plans to issue bonds with a face value of 8 billion Swiss francs during 2021, it said, 2 billion lower than originally planned.
The government has so far placed bonds with a face value of 6.8 billion francs on the market in 2021. The remaining bond auction dates this year are unchanged and it said it would keep the optional issue dates in October and December.
Switzerland, whose economy is recovering from a downturn last year, has been trying to accelerate its immunisation programme in recent days, as the vaccination rate has lagged other countries.
In the country of 8.7 million people, 836,479 people have been infected with the coronavirus, and 10,676 have died.
($1 = 0.9239 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Andrew Heavens) ((John.Revill@thomsonreuters.com; +41 58306 7022; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))