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The Swiss franc's honeymoon


Janssen, Alexandra; Studer, Rahel (2017). The Swiss franc's honeymoon. Working paper series / Department of Economics 170, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Starting from the stylized fact that the Swiss franc is a safe haven currency, this paper focuses on the determinants of the Swiss franc during the lower bound regime from September 2011 to January 2015. We describe the Swiss franc as a function of global market risk fundamentals and find that the macroeconomic model outlined by Krugman (1991) describes the EUR/CHF exchange rate well during this particular time. We show that, as predicted by Krugman’s model, the sole expectation that the Swiss National Bank would prevent the Swiss franc from appreciating beyond 1.20 to the euro muted the sensitivity of EUR/CHF to global market risk. An important assumption for the model prediction to hold is that the central bank’s commitment to the exchange rate target is credible. We thus use EUR/CHF option prices together with the global market risk fundamental to assess the credibility of the lower bound. We find that the only true credibility issue was in November 2014. After November 2014 the Swiss National Bank could convince markets anew from its target-zone policy and suspend the lower bound unexpectedly a few weeks later.

Abstract

Starting from the stylized fact that the Swiss franc is a safe haven currency, this paper focuses on the determinants of the Swiss franc during the lower bound regime from September 2011 to January 2015. We describe the Swiss franc as a function of global market risk fundamentals and find that the macroeconomic model outlined by Krugman (1991) describes the EUR/CHF exchange rate well during this particular time. We show that, as predicted by Krugman’s model, the sole expectation that the Swiss National Bank would prevent the Swiss franc from appreciating beyond 1.20 to the euro muted the sensitivity of EUR/CHF to global market risk. An important assumption for the model prediction to hold is that the central bank’s commitment to the exchange rate target is credible. We thus use EUR/CHF option prices together with the global market risk fundamental to assess the credibility of the lower bound. We find that the only true credibility issue was in November 2014. After November 2014 the Swiss National Bank could convince markets anew from its target-zone policy and suspend the lower bound unexpectedly a few weeks later.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:E52, E58, F31, G01
Uncontrolled Keywords:Exchange rate target zone, safe haven currency, volatility smile
Language:English
Date:January 2017
Deposited On:13 Aug 2014 14:41
Last Modified:15 Aug 2017 13:23
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:40
ISSN:1664-7041
Additional Information:Revised version
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp170.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php

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