In the history of the Swiss franc and the Swiss economy the last Thursday, January 15, 2015 will be mentioned, no doubt, as "Black Thursday". On this day, the course of the monetary unit of the Alpine republic in minutes flew by about a quarter against the euro and the US dollar.
For instance, in today's Russia is so strong revaluation of the national currency would cause rejoicing, but the specifics of Switzerland is that here it is perceived as a sign of trouble. On the stock exchange in Zurich SMI index for the first time during its existence has fallen off by 14 percent, and Nick Hayek, the head of one of the largest companies in the country Swatch, compared the event with tsunami.
All this storm has been caused by the Swiss National Bank (SNB). It unexpectedly abandoned the policy, which was held since September 2011, when it decided to put a barrier in the way of the growing rate of the national currency, ruling that the euro should not fall below 1.20. Since then, the SNB has spent billions of Swiss francs for the purchase of euro defending this frontier.
On January 5 this year the head of the SNB Thomas Jordan assured in a television interview that he considered the minimum retention rate of the euro as a "central task". Just ten days later, the Swiss central bank gave up and completely removed the restrictions on the exchange rate. Initially, the euro fell to a record level of 0.86 francs, and then tried to stabilize near parity: 1 Euro - 1 franc.
The problem is that Switzerland has never sought to have a reserve currency, but de facto it has. Hardness and reliability of the CHF led to the fact that this currency in the world is perceived as a "safe haven" for the times when there is any doubt in other currencies. Actually, the introduction of a minimum rate of the euro in September 2011 was caused by the fact that the looming debt crisis in the euro area caused a massive purchase of Swiss francs.
High demand for a currency of such a small country like Switzerland inevitably leads to abnormally high exchange rate, which has an extremely negative impact on the economy if it is entirely focused on the export and inbound tourism. After all, the more expensive the franc, the higher the price of Swiss engineering products, watches, chocolate, and the less foreigners can afford to visit this country. It was in the interests of business and the Swiss National Bank to keep defense line at the turn of 1.20 for so long period of time.
And now the defense had to stop because the SNB had already bought a huge amount of euros (total foreign exchange reserves of Switzerland exceeded 400 billion euros), and the end of the currency interventions in Europe is not seen. On the contrary, the US Federal Reserve policy of ultra-cheap money finishes and the Fed is preparing to raise interest rates.
This leads to a strengthening of the American dollar against all the currencies of the world, including the euro. At the same time, the European Central Bank (ECB) continues to pump the unstable eurozone’s economy with cheap money and already on Jan. 22 may announce new large-scale measures. This will inevitably cause further decline of the European currency.