Swiss franc holds its own against big currencies

Bruno Gehrig says the franc has fared well against bigger currencies Keystone Archive

The vice chairman of the Swiss National Bank, Bruno Gehrig, says that two years after the introduction of the euro, the Swiss franc is standing up well.

This content was published on January 17, 2001 - 11:49

Gehrig was speaking to the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich.

"Two years of experience with the euro has taught us that living as a dwarf moving among giants is a reasonable strategy," he said.

"It has allowed us to implement our own policy and at the same time to retain our traditional interest rate bonus, a significant economic advantage," he added.

Gehrig also said that before the launch of the European single currency, the National Bank had made it clear that it would intervene in the foreign exchange market, in the event of a massive exchange rate distortion.

"We have not had to make use of this measure of last resort at all," he said.

Referring to the marked decline of the United States dollar in the past months, Gehrig said it had not led to any "undesirable tremors".

"The effect, registered fairly regularly in the past that a weakening of the dollar is reinforced by an appreciation of the Swiss franc vis-à-vis the German mark, has been almost absent," he said.

Gehrig also commented that the "radical alternatives" of adopting the euro as Switzerland's currency as soon as possible or committing the country to run its own currency forever were fraught with uncertainties.

"In economic respects, it seems advisable to remain non-committal for the time being... It seems much more rational to adopt a wait-and-see attitude during which experience is gained, and to delay the decision until such time as its implications may be assessed with greater accuracy than is possible today," he added.

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