SNB Keeps Monetary Policy Unchanged

The Swiss central bank pledged to keep defending its franc cap and left borrowing costs at zero to protect the economy from “exceptionally high” risks as the euro area’s crisis intensifies

SNB Statement

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) will maintain the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro and will enforce it with the utmost determination. It remains prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities for this purpose. Even at the current rate, the Swiss franc is still high. Another appreciation would have a serious impact on both prices and the economy in Switzerland. The SNB will not tolerate this. If necessary, it stands ready to take further measures at any time.

The target range for the three-month Libor remains at 0.00–0.25%. Essentially, the SNB’s conditional inflation forecast is unchanged from its March forecast. It is based on a three-month Libor of 0.0% and continues to assume that the Swiss franc will weaken over the forecast horizon. For 2012, the forecast shows an inflation rate of –0.5%. For 2013, the SNB is expecting inflation of 0.3% and for 2014, of 0.6%. Consequently, in the foreseeable future, there is no risk of inflation in Switzerland.

The SNB expects that the global economy will only recover slowly. While the emerging economies make a major contribution to global growth, momentum in the advanced economies will remain subdued. In Europe, in particular, economic activity will be extremely weak on account of the financial and debt crisis. Switzerland will experience a significant economic slowdown over the rest of the year. Only because of the unexpectedly strong winter half-year does the SNB now expect growth of around 1.5% for 2012.

The risks for the Swiss economic situation remain exceptionally high. The uncertainty about future developments in the euro area has again risen. If global activity proves disappointing or the turmoil on the financial markets increases, downside risks will again emerge for the economy and price stability in Switzerland. The imbalances in the Swiss residential mortgage and real estate markets increased further last quarter. Consequently, the SNB welcomes the Federal Council decision to make available a countercyclical capital buffer which can counter adverse developments on the domestic credit market., SNB
6/14/2012 10:11:23 AM