Switzerland Keeps Rates Steady

The Swiss National Bank left its benchmark three-month Libor at -0.75 percent on June 21st, 2018, in line with market expectations. Policymakers continued to say the Swiss franc remains too strong and revised higher inflation forecasts for 2018.

Excerpts from the SNB press release:

All in all, the value of the Swiss franc has barely changed since the monetary policy assessment of March 2018. The currency remains highly valued. Following the March assessment, the Swiss franc initially depreciated slightly against the US dollar and the euro. However, in light of political uncertainty in Italy, we have since seen countermovement, particularly against the euro. The situation on the foreign exchange market thus remains fragile, and the negative interest rate and our willingness to intervene in the foreign exchange market as necessary therefore remain essential. These measures keep the attractiveness of Swiss franc investments low and ease pressure on the currency.

The new conditional inflation forecast for the coming quarters is slightly higher than it was in March 2018 due to a marked rise in the price of oil; this price rise ceases to affect annual inflation after the first quarter of 2019. From mid-2019, the new conditional forecast is lower than it was in March 2018, mainly due to the muted outlook in the euro area. At 0.9%, the inflation forecast for 2018 is 0.3 percentage points higher than projected at the March assessment. For 2019, the SNB continues to anticipate inflation of 0.9%. For 2020, we expect to see inflation of 1.6%, compared with 1.9% forecast in the last quarter. The conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that the three-month Libor remains at –0.75% over the entire forecast horizon.

The risks to the SNB’s baseline scenario are more to the downside. Chief among them are political developments in certain countries as well as potential international tensions and protectionist tendencies.

Switzerland Keeps Rates Steady

SNB | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
6/21/2018 7:52:08 AM