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(Bloomberg) -- One month ago, the Swiss National Bank pledged to defend its 1.20 franc-per-euro cap with ‘utmost determination.’ Only one forecaster predicted the central bank would fail this year. When officials removed the ceiling today, he was proved right.

Jason Schenker, president of Austin, Texas-based Prestige Economics LLC, predicted the franc would drop to as low as 1.18 per euro this year, the only estimate below 1.20 francs per euro among 69 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. In the hours following the SNB’s unexpected announcement today, the franc appreciated as much as 41 percent to touch 85.17 centimes against the 19-member currency, the strongest level on record.

“Our forecasts have been predicated not necessarily on an exclusive lifting of the ceiling, but rather on the fact that the market direction for the euro and the Swiss franc would be basically unsustainable and indefensible,” Schenker said in a telephone interview.

Prestige was the most accurate forecaster of the euro-franc currency pair in 2014 after Westpac Banking Corp., according to rankings compiled by Bloomberg. Schenker, who produces all the predictions himself, said the euro is likely to see further “significant” weakness if European Central Bank policy makers led by President Mario Draghi announce government-bond purchases.

A European Union court ruling yesterday “clears the way for bond buying and the potential for the euro to move significantly lower,” Prestige’s Schenker said. “I’m not entirely sure if the decision made today was preemptive because the ECB may or may not make that policy decision next week, but I would say that the pressures in the market place likely dictated the removal of that cap.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucy Meakin in London at lmeakin1@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at pdobson2@bloomberg.net Keith Jenkins, Todd White

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