Swiss Franc Roils Markets

The Swiss National Bank roiled markets worldwide with its unexpected decision to abandon the franc’s cap against the euro, knocking down what an official just two days ago reaffirmed as a pillar of policy.

Europe’s shared currency slumped 1.9 percent against the dollar before recouping much of the decline as traders reflected on the decision, which also saw the SNB deepen negative deposit rates. SNB President Thomas Jordan defended the move, saying surprise was necessary. The franc surged as much as 38 percent versus the greenback and gained against all 174 foreign-exchange values tracked by Bloomberg. Volatility jumped to a more than one-year high.

“This passive intervention in euro-Swiss was costly and not effective because for every euro the SNB was taking away, the European Central Bank stood ready to print another three,” Hans Redeker, London-based head of global currency strategy at Morgan Stanley, said in a conference call. “What today’s Swiss franc move did provide us, we think, is an opportunity of very cheap U.S. dollars, to buy the dollar cheap.”

Bloomberg

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