Home Forex Swiss franc grapples with protected haven identification disaster after Credit score Suisse

Swiss franc grapples with protected haven identification disaster after Credit score Suisse

Swiss franc grapples with protected haven identification disaster after Credit score Suisse

By Samuel Indyk

LONDON (Reuters) – The Swiss franc didn’t stay as much as its popularity as a protected haven through the Credit score Suisse collapse as buyers sought refuge elsewhere, additional boosting the worth of gold in Swiss bullion vaults than its worth. money.

Fund managers dumped the Swiss franc on the quickest tempo in two years final week forward of the spectacular takeover of Credit score Suisse by UBS.

The , typically used as a protected haven throughout occasions of market stress or volatility, fell 0.9% in opposition to the greenback within the week after the Swiss monetary division stated regulators had been intently monitoring the state of affairs at Credit score Suisse on March 13. .

On the identical time, the Japanese yen, which can be thought-about a protected haven in occasions of turmoil, appreciated 2.6% in opposition to the greenback. Since bother emerged at Silicon Valley Financial institution on March 9, the yen has gained greater than 5.5% in opposition to the greenback.

Gold, one other conventional protected haven, rose greater than 5% within the week after March 13 to interrupt above $2,000 an oz., its highest stage in additional than a 12 months, whereas bonds of State recorded a few of their greatest inflows in a long time.

“It actually has to do with developments within the banking sector,” stated Kirstine Kundby-Nielsen, FX analyst at Danske Financial institution, explaining why the franc was not stronger.

“You continue to have among the safe-haven hedging properties of the Swiss franc, however it will possibly’t take a lot when the chance finally ends up being so concentrated within the Swiss financial system and the Swiss monetary sector,” Kundby-Nielsen added.

Speculators added greater than $800 million to their bear positions within the Swiss franc within the week to March 21, in accordance with knowledge from the Commodities Futures Buying and selling Fee, essentially the most in per week since early March 2021.

On Sunday, the Swiss Nationwide Financial institution (SNB) orchestrated a $3 billion deal for UBS to purchase rival Credit score Suisse, backed by a large assure of as much as $260 billion, or a 3rd of the nation’s home output, in state and central financial institution assist.

“If it wasn’t Credit score Suisse, however another European financial institution that had issues, you’d have seen the Swiss franc soar as a result of it could have been the protected haven for European danger,” Francesco Pesole stated. , FX strategist at ING.

A 2016 SNB research discovered that in earlier crises, flows to Switzerland and the franc had been pushed by weaknesses elsewhere.

Futures knowledge reveals speculators poured cash into bullish Swissie bets after the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000, after the September 11, 2001 assaults, and once more in 2008 and 2011-2012, through the Eurozone debt disaster and once more. through the COVID disaster.

Through the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, internet capital inflows had been pushed by “substantial retrenchment” within the home market by Swiss banks, whereas through the eurozone banking disaster from mid -2011, the SNB discovered that abandoning the euro and adopting the franc was pushed by overseas banks transferring property from eurozone branches to their Swiss branches.

“The present setup would not argue for any of these issues. US banking strains have been contained in regional banks and eurozone banks have up to now been comparatively untouched,” stated Michael Cahill, senior FX strategist at Goldman. Sachs (NYSE:).

“The franc shouldn’t be an ‘all-weather’ protected haven and up to now we have not had the form of market pressures that will sometimes result in appreciation of the franc,” he stated. .

Switzerland’s lengthy historical past of political neutrality however energetic integration into the worldwide financial system additionally helps the nation present shelter throughout occasions of heightened geopolitical rigidity.

This pattern was seen in February final 12 months when the franc gained 5% in opposition to the euro within the two weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


It is one factor for the franc to fall out of favor with buyers throughout a disaster centered on Switzerland, however fairly one other to recommend that its days as a protected haven are numbered.

For the Swiss franc to lose its protected haven standing, FX strategists from Barclays (LON:) say “basic modifications” within the nation’s stability sheet can be wanted, with the share of Swiss-issued property in exterior liabilities anticipated to fall through “massive and sustained” outflows.

“This could trigger home rates of interest to rise, thereby rising the yield on Switzerland’s exterior debt and additional weighing on the nation’s yield differential,” stated Barclays FX strategists, led by Lefteris Farmakis.

“In such a state of affairs, the SNB would probably attempt to ease the transition by dampening capital outflows,” Farmakis stated.

Barclays stated the possibilities of a “sudden cease” episode are extraordinarily low regardless of the present banking turmoil, however a tougher query to reply is whether or not confidence within the monetary system has been eroded to such a level {that a} “sluggish burn” episode could have begun. .

“Fortuitously,” says Barclays, “this state of affairs has restricted repercussions for the franc within the foreseeable future.”


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