Swiss Franc ETF Subdued on Central Bank Actions
December 27th, 2011 at 8:19am by Tom Lydon
An exchange traded fund that follows the Swiss franc has remained depressed for the back half of the year due to the central bank’s interventions in the wake of a rapid currency appreciation, but some believe that it is not enough.
As the Eurozone financial debt crisis worsened, the Swiss franc currency attracted droves of safe-haven traders; however, the CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust (NYSEArca: FXF) has fallen a little over 20% after the Swiss National Bank stepped in. FXF is currently down 0.7% year-to-date. [Currency Intervention Fears Weigh on Swiss Franc ETF]
The SNB is maintaining its franc peg of 1.20 to the euro and also pledged to take additional measures to protect economic growth, reports Simone Meier for Bloomberg.
The central bank stated it would defend the ceiling with “the utmost determination” and is willing to buy “unlimited quantities” of foreign currencies as the franc is still high and should continue to weaken over time.
The strong franc makes Swiss exports less competitive in the international markets, which has contributed to the drop in Switzerland’s manufacturing output for a third straight month in November and the decline of the KOF leading economic indicator to a two year low.
Last week, Swiss parliamentarians called for the SNB to take further actions in debasing the currency, but the legislators voted against two motions that would push for negative interest rates, which would force banks to charge customers to hold cash, reports Catherine Bosley for Reuters. Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf promised that the government is looking at alternative solutions should the franc attract another round of safe-haven investors.
“We’re doing these are checks now so that if some time it would be needed we’d have clarified everything and could make proposals,” the Finance Minister said. “(Yet) with implementing any such measures there would be a very high administrative burden.
CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust
For more information on the franc, visit our Swiss franc category.
Read the disclaimer; Tom Lydon is a board member of Rydex|SGI.
Max Chen contributed to this article.
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