Swiss National Bank Surprise 50 Basis Point Rate Hike, Raises to Stabilize Inflation

The Swiss National Bank surprise 50 basis point hike has isolated Japan as the lone adherent to extremely easy monetary policy. Prior was -0.75% and raised to -0.25%, so still negative rates which would be a nod to trying to limit Franc strength. The rate hike is to counter increased inflationary pressure The SNB cannot rule out further rate hikes to stabilize inflation

Swiss National Bank

Monetary policy assessment of 16 June 2022
Swiss National Bank Tightens Monetary Policy

Highlights

  • Raises rates 50 bps to -0.25%
  • Prior -0.75%
  • Sight deposits interest rate raised by 50 bps to -0.25%
  • The rate hike is to counter increased inflationary pressure
  • Tighter monetary policy aimed at preventing inflation from spreading more broadly
  • SNB still willing to be active in foreign exchange market as necessary
  • Cannot rule out further rate hikes to stabilize inflation
SNB Dec 2021 Forecast

Monetary policy assessment of 16 June 2022

Press Statement

Swiss National Bank tightens monetary policy and raises SNB policy rate to −0.25%

The SNB is tightening its monetary policy and is raising the SNB policy rate and the interest
rate on sight deposits at the SNB by half a percentage point to −0.25% to counter increased
inflationary pressure. The tighter monetary policy is aimed at preventing inflation from
spreading more broadly to goods and services in Switzerland. It cannot be ruled out that
further increases in the SNB policy rate will be necessary in the foreseeable future to stabilise
inflation in the range consistent with price stability over the medium term. To ensure
appropriate monetary conditions, the SNB is also willing to be active in the foreign exchange
market as necessary.

The SNB policy rate change applies from tomorrow, 17 June 2022. With effect from 1 July
2022, the SNB is also adjusting the threshold factor used to calculate the level of banks’ sight
deposits at the SNB exempt from negative interest. The factor will be lowered from 30 to 28.
This will ensure that the secured short-term Swiss franc money market rates are close to the
SNB policy rate.

Inflation reached 2.9% in May and is likely to remain at an elevated level for the time being.
The SNB’s new conditional inflation forecast is based on the assumption that the SNB policy
rate is −0.25% over the entire forecast horizon. The new forecast for the next three years is
above that of March (cf. chart 1), and stands at 2.8% for 2022, 1.9% for 2023, and 1.6% for
2024 (cf. table 1). Without today’s SNB policy rate increase, the inflation forecast would be
significantly higher.

Global economic growth has slowed markedly recently. This slowdown is on the one hand
attributable to the high level of inflation, which is weighing on purchasing power and thus
reducing demand. On the other hand, the uncertainty stemming from the war in Ukraine as
well as the coronavirus lockdowns in China are curbing the development of the global
economy.

Since March, there has been a further considerable and broad-based increase in inflation in
many countries. The war in Ukraine has been a significant factor here, too, in that the prices
of many commodities have risen as a result. In addition, persisting supply bottlenecks have
led to further price increases for various goods.

In its baseline scenario for the global economy, the SNB assumes that energy prices will
remain high for the time being, but that there will not be an acute energy shortage in the major
economic areas. The positive development of the economy should thus continue overall.
Owing to the increased prices for energy and food, coupled with the supply bottlenecks,
inflation is likely to remain high for some time. However, the importance of these factors
should diminish over the medium term. With monetary policy also becoming increasingly
tighter in many countries, inflation is likely to gradually return to more moderate levels.

This scenario for the global economy is subject to significant risks. For example, inflation
could rise further and thus weigh even more heavily on real incomes and consumer demand.
At the same time, high inflation could become entrenched as a result of increased secondround effects, requiring stronger monetary policy responses in other countries. Finally, there
are still important downside risks to growth from the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.
The Swiss economy has continued the favourable development it has shown since the
beginning of the year. After modest growth in the fourth quarter of 2021, GDP increased by
just under 2% in the first quarter of this year. The signals remain positive for the current
quarter. The situation on the labour market has also continued to improve.

The war in Ukraine has thus far had comparatively little adverse impact on economic activity
in Switzerland. The effect has been most clearly felt in the higher energy prices and in the
supply bottlenecks.

For 2022, the SNB still anticipates GDP growth of around 2.5%. Unemployment is likely to
remain low. This favourable forecast is based, among other things, on the assumption that the
global economy continues to grow and that the war in Ukraine does not escalate further.
The forecast for Switzerland, as for the global economy, is subject to large risks. If the energy
supply in Europe were to be adversely affected, this could have a serious impact on the Swiss
economy. The global supply bottlenecks and further increases in commodity prices could also
slow growth. Furthermore, a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic cannot be ruled out.
Mortgage lending and residential property prices have risen further in recent quarters. The
SNB will continue to monitor developments on the mortgage and real estate markets closely.

More detailed information on the monetary policy decision can be found in Thomas Jordan’s
introductory remarks, available from 10 am. Fritz Zurbrügg’s remarks focus on developments in
the area of financial stability, while Andréa Maechler’s remarks address the situation on the
financial markets

Source: SNB

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