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The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has been forced to sever the franc’s anchor to the euro because of the latter’s sustained weakness

vendredi 16 janvier 2015

According to Simon Ward, chief economist at Henderson Global Investors “The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has been forced to sever the franc’s anchor to the euro because of the latter’s sustained weakness, driven partly by expectations that the ECB will launch sovereign QE next week.

“The SNB’s ability to use foreign exchange intervention to hold down the franc has been constrained by criticism of the huge expansion of its balance sheet – now 85% of GDP.

“ In December, the SNB cut interest rates to negative and signalled that they could go lower, but this has failed to stem upward pressure on the currency.

“ The timing of today’s decision may be linked to yesterday’s opinion by the European Court of Justice advocate-general on the legality of the OMT programme, which has reinforced the likelihood of ECB QE. The SNB had the option of resetting the euro / franc peg at a lower level but has chosen to make a clean break with previous policy by moving to a free float.

“Markets were not positioned for this possibility, explaining the huge rise in the franc immediately following the announcement – the euro / franc rate fell from 1.20 to a low of 0.85 before recovering to 1.03 at the time of writing.”

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