USD/CHF rises as Swiss retail sales fall, Swiss CPI next

  • Swiss retail sales decline by 2.3%
  • Swiss inflation expected to dip to 1.5%
  • US unemployment claims drop to 228,000
  • US PCE Price Index rises by 3.3%

The Swiss franc has lost ground on Thursday. In the North American session, USD/CHF is trading at 0.8835, up 0.59%.

Thursday’s Swiss retail sales for July looked awful, falling 2.3% m/m. This follows a revised gain of 1.5% in June. Market attention has now shifted to Swiss inflation, which will be released on Friday. Swiss inflation dropped to 1.6% in July, the lowest level since July 2022. The downtrend is expected to continue in August with a consensus estimate of 1.5%.

Policy makers at the Swiss National Bank have to be pleased with the inflation rate. Switzerland boasts the lowest inflation rate in the developed world and both headline and core inflation are comfortably nestled in the central bank’s inflation target range of 0%-2%. Still, the SNB remains wary about inflation, with concerns that increases in rents and electricity prices could push inflation back up to 2%. Food inflation remains high and rose from 5.1% to 5.3% in July.

Unlike other major central banks, the SNB meets quarterly, which magnifies the significance of each rate decision. At the June meeting, the central bank raised rates to 1.75% from 1.50% and hinted that further hikes were coming. The SNB has projected inflation will hit 2.2% in 2023 and 2024, above its target. That means the SNB expects to have to continue raising rates, although, as is the case with many other central banks, the peak rate appears to be close at hand.

In the US, unemployment claims dropped to 228,000 last week, down from a revised 232,000 and below the estimate of 236,000. All eyes will be on Friday’s job report, with nonfarm payrolls expected to dip to 170,000, down from 187,000.

The Fed’s favourite inflation gauge, the PCE Price Index, increased in July by 0.2% for a second straight month, lower than the estimate of 0.3%. On an annualized basis, the PCE Price Index climbed 3.3% in July, up from 3.0% in June. Service prices rose by 0.4% in July, up from 0.3% from the previous month. The numbers indicate that the Fed’s battle with inflation is far from over, and the final phase of pushing inflation down to 2% may prove the most difficult.


USD/CHF Technical

  • USD/CHF is testing resistance at 0.8827. Above, there is resistance at 0.8895
  • 0.8779 and 0.8711 are providing support

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Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Market Analyst at OANDA
A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental and macroeconomic analysis, Kenny Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in major online financial publications including, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.