Swiss Monetary Reserves

Swiss monetary reserves at the Swiss National Bank are becoming a problem. How to trade Forex successfully includes keeping track of the state of each of the major currencies, including the Swiss franc. With this fact in mind we present a bit of information about the Swiss National Bank. The Swiss National Bank has four different names, one for each of the four official languages of Switzerland. These names are Schweizerische Nationalbank in German, Banque Nationale Suisse in French, Banca Nazionale Svizzera in Italian and Banca Naziunala Svizra in the preserved Roman dialect of Romansh. The Swiss National Bank is a corporation with government entities owning 55% of shares and private individuals owning the remaining 45% of publically traded shares. The Swiss National Bank functions as an independent central bank with the right to print and distribute money. It conducts Swiss monetary policy and has been largely responsible for the stability and strength of the Swiss franc. It has accumulated substantial foreign currency reserves. Unfortunately Swiss currency reserves have diminished in value as the Swiss franc has risen of late.

Swiss currency reserves serve the same purpose as the currency reserves of Japan, Taiwan, and mainland China. A country sells its currency in order to prevent its own currency from becoming too expensive. Nations do this so that their exports can remain economically competitive. What happens in the long run is that the nation that buys other currencies as a continual monetary policy subsidizes is competitors for buying the nation’s products. The pitfall in this policy is that the currency that Switzerland, Japan, or one of the Chinas buys can still fall in value. This has happened to the Euro due to the several debt crises on the continent. The Swiss franc has gained 16% versus the Euro over the last month and a half. That translates to a 16% fall in value of Swiss currency reserves held as Euros. With the Swiss franc at record highs against the Euro the Swiss National Bank is holding interest rates near zero. As the Greek debt crisis plagues the Euro there is little relief in sight for Swiss currency reserves.

The issue of holding someone else’s debt is not limited to Swiss currency reserves. Japan, China, Taiwan, and others have held dollars for years. At times this is profitable. With the dollar as a safe haven currency over most of the years since World War II holding greenbacks has not been a great risk. However, as the dollar has slid more than recovered of late anyone buying dollars is doing to drive the dollar up and their currency down. This allows the country doing to so keep their exports more productive. The rationale is that they will profit more in the long run selling discounted goods. As always, good Forex advice is to follow the monetary policies of nations such as Switzerland, Japan, and China for clues as to who will be buying dollars and Euros and who will be selling.