(Currency) Wars and Peace

What’s happening in Switzerland?

Source: Wikipedia

Yesterday the Swiss National Bank announced they would no longer keep the Franc pegged to the Euro. The currency immediately jumped about 20%, roiling the markets. Some currency trading firms have been wiped out. They also lowered the deposit rates for banks to -0.75% to discourage inflows. Why did they do this?

The Swiss Franc has been pegged to the Euro since August of 2011. Lately, the Euro has been falling as markets anticipate a new round of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank. But it’s not just Europe: the Euro is falling; the Yen has been falling; the Russian Ruble has collapsed; there is speculation that the Swedes may cut rates; and collapsing oil prices have put pressure on the Norwegian Krona and Canadian Dollar.

The Swiss just declared that they are a neutral party in this currency war. The currency peg had required them to amass huge Euro balances—more than their entire economy. If the ECB expands Quantitative Easing, that will only increase. So the Swiss stepped away.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Their action only increases the turmoil in Europe. Switzerland may no longer be a “family estate” of the larger Euro-zone, but their economy is integrated with the rest of the world. If there really is a full-fledged currency conflict, there will be a lot of casualties.


Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Phone: 603-224-1350
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By | 2017-07-17T12:23:07+00:00 January 16th, 2015|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. –
Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all!
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