Swiss Interest Rates: Lower for Longer ?

• Has the SNB reached the Zero Lower Bound? After last week’s ECB deposit rate cut, we assess the likelihood of further accommodative monetary policy in Switzerland.
• By applying a Taylor Rule approach to reveal the SNB’s own estimate of the neutral real interest rate, we estimate that there is indeed room for further interest rate cuts, especially as domestic Swiss real interest rates are still moderately elevated.

Asian “Currency Manipulation” : Mainly a US Concern ?

• The US has had a long standing concern about what it perceives to be excessive “currency manipulation” on the part of some countries, especially in Asia. This concern is primarily driven by the large and persistent US current account deficit, which will necessitate significant relative currency adjustments for it to at least begin to unwind.

• A problem with this view emanating from US officialdom is that the pass-through effects between currency movements and domestic inflation in the US has been shown to be weak, thus making the process of adjustment more drawn out at best, and ineffective at worst.

SNB vs CNB : Currency Interventions

•The economic rationale for entering, and ultimately exiting a regime of exchange rate interventions is markedly different for the Czech National Bank relative to the Swiss National Bank.

•The central bank balance sheet, politics and nature of the underlying economy (and currency) are, amongst other things, important factors in helping determine the likelihood of a central bank continuing to intervene in the FX market.

Agreekment: Mapping out the flows

• The initial details of the bail-out suggest that over the next three years, Greece’s hard-line creditors could be largely ‘paid-off’, leaving the door open to debt renegotiation further down the line.

• While Greece is required to make further sacrifices in the form of asset privatization, the deal postpones economic and humanitarian consequences of Euro exit.

• As always, there are significant uncertainties surrounding long run feasibility including primary surplus and asset sale revenue assumptions.