Although the extent to which the surprise move by the Swiss National Bank last week has damaged financial institutions will not be apparent until the end of the month, it is already clear that enormous damage has been wreaked on many businesses exposed to the foreign exchange markets.
On Thursday the SNB unpegged its currency from the euro without warning. The peg was put in place three years ago during the height of the euro crisis to prevent the Swiss franc from rising too much relative to its EU neighbours and damaging its exports.
The shock move caused the Swiss franc to rally almost 30% against the euro and 28% against the dollar. To maintain the peg, the SNB had been forced to accumulate around €500 billion leaving it very vulnerable to a euro devaluation.
It would seem that the move was not coordinated with the ECB or the Fed and may be endemic of a new low phase in global central bank communications. Many times throughout the financial crisis central banks have coordinated efforts to stabilise market volatility and to manage stimulus programs in concert. (more…)