Interest Rate in Switzerland
Switzerland - Interest Rate
SNB maintains ultra-loose monetary policy in June; introduces SNB policy rate
At its meeting on 13 June, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) maintained its current expansionary policy stance as had been expected by market analysts. The Bank also announced an adjustment in its monetary policy strategy and introduced a SNB policy rate, which will replace the use of the target range for the three-month Libor. The SNB policy rate is set at minus 0.75%, which corresponds to the midpoint of the previous target range for the three-month Libor. Subsequently, the Bank kept the interest rate on sight deposits unchanged at minus 0.75%.
The SNB’s latest decision came against a challenging external backdrop including a more dovish ECB and global growth woes, which have boosted safe-haven demand for the Swiss franc. Consequently, in a bid to avoid an appreciation of the franc, which the Bank still deems to be overvalued, the Bank decided to keep interest rates negative. Domestic conditions also gave the Bank good reason to hold fire. Inflationary pressures remain muted and risks still tilt to the downside, although the SNB marginally revised up its inflation estimates to 0.6% in 2019 on higher import prices (April’s projection: 0.3%) and 0.7% in 2020 (April’s estimate: 0.6%).
The main reason for the policy change is the uncertainty over the future of the Libor rate, which is in the wake of a manipulation scandal that threatens the very existence of the benchmark. Given that the Libor rate is only guaranteed through 2021, and is used by the Bank in their conditional inflation forecasts, “the introduction of the SNB policy rate ensures that it will be based on the same interest rate over the entire horizon”—which ends in 2024.
The Bank’s forward guidance was little changed from its first quarter meeting and maintained that a negative interest rate was essential for detracting interest from franc-based investments, and thus to curb safe-haven demand. Moreover, the SNB reiterated that it would intervene in the foreign exchange market as needed. The ECB’s dovish stance also gives the Bank little scope to tighten its own stance without triggering a sharp appreciation of the currency. The Bank has gone to great lengths to avoid further strengthening of the franc, which would weigh on export-oriented sectors and put additional downward pressure on inflation. As a result, the Bank is likely to continue to leave the interest rates at historically-low levels, while many analysts expect the SNB to wait until the ECB hikes its rate, before beginning to tighten. Commenting on ING’s take on the meeting, economist Charlotte de Montpellier noted: “We will probably have to wait for the next economic cycle to see the Swiss central bank raise rates, which means not before 2023.”
The next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for 25 September 2019.
Against this backdrop, FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists are taking the Bank’s decision into consideration and new forecasts will be published on 25 June.
Switzerland - Interest Rate Data
|Policy Interest Rate (%)||0.13||-0.25||-0.75||-0.75||-0.75|
5 years of economic forecasts for more than 30 economic indicators.
Switzerland Interest Rate Chart
Source: Swiss National Bank.
|Bond Yield||-0.83||6.27 %||Jul 31|
|Exchange Rate||0.99||-0.54 %||Jul 31|
|Stock Market||9,919||-0.82 %||Jul 31|
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August 5, 2019
Calendar-adjusted real retail sales rose 0.7% over the same month a year prior in June, following the 1.1% decline logged in May.
August 5, 2019
Swiss households remained largely pessimistic in the May–July period, with the index prepared by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) improving marginally to minus 8 points from a revised minus 9 points in February–to–April (previously reported: -6 points).
Switzerland: Manufacturing sector contracts at sharpest pace in a decade in July; service sector slumps for first time since 2016
August 2, 2019
The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) produced by Credit Suisse and procure.ch fell to 44.7 in July from 47.7 in June, marking the lowest reading since July 2009.
August 2, 2019
Consumer prices fell 0.5% over the prior month in July, down from June’s flat reading.
July 30, 2019
The KOF economic barometer—a leading composite indicator for the Swiss economy, which forecasts a six-month period—climbed to 97.1 points in July, from a revised 93.8 points in June (previously reported: 93.6 points).