The Swiss National Bank has undertaken massive efforts to weaken its hopelessly overvalued currency before it completely wrecks the country’s economy. For a more detailed report on the travails of the Swiss economy, please click here for “My Big Miss of the Year”. I love Swiss chocolate, especially Toblerone, but it’s not that good. $20 for a cup of coffee? Puleese!
The Swiss National Bank is flooding the domestic money markets with liquidity at an unprecedented rate and intervening in the foreign exchange markets. Harsher measures are rumored to come shortly. This is all fresh red meat for hedge fund traders.
Adding the fat to the fire, on Friday, a rumor swept the foreign exchange market that UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, would start charging negative interest rates of short term Swiss franc deposits. A similar move during the late seventies heralded the peak of speculation in the Swiss currency. The Swiss franc immediately crashed 3.5 cents. Many stop loss liquidation orders were triggered along the way, causing one of the sharpest declines in the history of the Swiss franc market.My experience is that, while these measures initially fail and are “poo pooed” by the market, at the end of the day, they succeed. After all, central banks can print all the money they want. It is far easier to weaken a currency than to strengthen them. We are about to see that with the Swiss currency.