National Bank snubs calls for more coronavirus money

Maechler was appointed to the SNB board in 2014. Keystone/Marcel Bieri

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has dismissed demands to increase its payout to help the economy cope with the costs of the coronavirus pandemic.

This content was published on May 16, 2020 - 14:29
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Governing board member Andréa Maechler an additional financial contribution would counteract monetary policy.

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“We are already making our contribution to the efforts to cope with the crisis not only by intervening on the currency markets,” she told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper in a wide-ranging interview.

She said Switzerland was experiencing a shock that is stronger than previously imagined but the role of the SNB was unchanged – to ensure the monetary conditions through interest rates and foreign exchange rates.

Maechler said the CHF4 billion ($4.1 billion) payout to the Swiss government and the 26 cantons this year was the maximum the central bank could envisage. The bank made a surplus of about CHF49 billion in 2019.

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A swift recovery of the Swiss economy is unlikely, according to her.

“Social distancing rules, higher debts and higher unemployment rates as well as lower salaries will mean that more time is needed for the economy to recover,” she said.

Maechler, one of three members of the central bank’s directorate, said the SNB did not fear an inflation or a deflationary spiral in Switzerland despite pressure from the strong Swiss franc and a shock in oil prices.

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