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Business minister has full confidence in Swiss National Bank: report
January 14, 2017 / 5:10 AM / 7 months ago

Business minister has full confidence in Swiss National Bank: report

Johann Schneider-Ammann smiles as he attends a welcome ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, November 4, 2016.Edgard Garrido

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's business minister said he supported the Swiss National Bank and its monetary policy, but added that a euro-Swiss franc exchange rate of 1.15 would be welcome.

The currency is currently trading at 1.0721 versus the euro. Two years ago, the bank upended currency markets by suddenly scrapping its limit on the franc.

"I have great confidence in the SNB and its policies," Johann Schneider-Ammann said in Saturday's Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper.

"The SNB is not infallible, but it is independent and is aware of its responsibilities," he added. "It operates with a great deal of sensitivity and skill."

The Swiss franc soared in value versus the euro, the currency of Switzerland's main export market, when the SNB scrapped a long-standing cap on the currency on January 15, 2015.

Schneider-Ammann said a euro-franc exchange rate of around 1.15 would be tolerable for most Swiss business, and would allow long-term investments to be made.

Swiss companies had coped better than expected with the stronger currency, he said, although there could be long-term consequences, he said.

"The longer that business, above all SMEs, sacrifice their profit margins to stay in the market, the less are they able to invest and innovate.

"Because the investment ability of some SMEs has suffered, the full effect of the currency shock has been delayed."

Reporting by John Revill; editing by Andrew Roche

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