Panel of Three, Deciding for Millions

It’s no secret that Switzerland has long held itself separate from its peers both in Europe and abroad, both politically and economically. But the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) decision to unpeg the franc from the euro last week took the world by surprise, though rumblings and rumors had actually let the potential cat out of the bag in advance (at least to those who were willing to listen).

What makes this situation unique isn’t the decision itself which was arguably understandable as the ECB gears up for a new stimulus plan and the euro continues to plummet against the dollar. What makes the decision difficult to swallow is that it was made by the SNB’s only three members who took the decision behind closed doors. Unlike the ECB which takes decisions by its 25 members who often leak tidbits to their staffers and the press, the SNB is an elite club of tight-lipped individuals who act alone, save for their limited list of advisors who aren’t present during the actual deliberations. SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan did not reach out to his comrades in the IMF nor to those in the ECB to tip them off about the upcoming decision. One could argue that such a tip off would have resulted in market turmoil anyway (albeit with a bit less of a negative vibe between policymakers). That being said, the decision has caused upheaval both in the way that investors trust central banks and in the way that merchants place this trust.

To Trust or Not to Trust

Preliminary predictions by analysts worldwide indicate that many fear an economic growth of less than one percent in 2015 if the EUR/CHF exchange rate moves to 1.10. Exports are likely to be affected as is the job market, as Swiss products may become too expensive for importers to bear. If there is a downshift in demand, production will slow tremendously and the job market could suffer significantly. By some estimates a fifth of the futures of Swiss industrial firms have been threatened by the decision.

At the moment, it seems like investors don’t trust the SNB, and this distrust may be overflowing to other central banks as well. Investors want to feel like their central banks are transparent and that they know what is going on with other major financial institutions. Both of these requirements proven untrue last week, and it may take some time for the trust to be rebuilt (if it happens at all). That being said, it is too early to tell whether the decision will prove to be advantageous for Switzerland or whether the panic and hysteria were, in fact, well-founded.

Looking Ahead

Both traders struggling with trust issues and those looking for ways to exploit the current volatile market should not place a trade until they feel confident in their Forex broker and in their trading strategy. Some brokers have lost millions since last week and are struggling to find their footing. Likewise, many traders have been shaken and are now afraid to approach the markets – but there is still some potential for profit in all of the volatility.

Traders can look towards gold, which ended at $1,276 on Friday and will likely reach higher in light of recent events. The Chinese yuan, though not the most popular currency of late may also be one to keep your eye on as it’s started to move lower against the dollar making it a potentially solid candidate for a short move.

As for the Swiss franc, naysayers analysts are split as to whether the country will recover quickly or whether there will be a period of extensive or prolonged hardship before things stabilize. Only time will tell how things will play out, so it may be a good idea to avoid this currency in the immediate future.

Sara Patterson
Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.