The Swiss National Bank's (SNB) policy of negative interest rates is not ideal but is nevertheless necessary in order to weaken Switzerland's "significantly overvalued" currency, Chairman Thomas Jordan said on the sidelines of the Private Banking Day in Zurich on Thursday. "It's not the case that we find it great to have negative interest rates," Jordan said during conference.
However, Jordan said negative interest rates, along with the central bank's willingness to intervene in the currency were absolutely necessary in order to protect exporters from a stronger Swiss franc, which is a safe-haven currency in times of market stress. Those conditions will largely be dictated from abroad, particularly by the European Central Bank (ECB). He stressed Swiss monetary policy was a hostage to weak economic conditions in some EU states, which prompted the ECB to print trillions of euros and move euro interest rates into negative territory.
For his part, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said that government policy was aimed at improving the position of Swiss banks in Europe and the wider world. The government is intent on securing future EU access for Swiss financial players, reducing the costs of regulation and administration and solving long-running tax evasion arguments, he told financiers.
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