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Swiss Franc Nears Critical Level versus Euro

Swiss Franc Nears Critical Level versus Euro

2009-09-28 00:32:00
John Kicklighter, Chief Strategist
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The Swiss Franc traded to fresh yearly highs against the US Dollar and near multi-month peaks against the Euro on a broad flight to safety across key financial markets. Relatively hawkish rhetoric from the Swiss National Bank gave skittish investors little reason to fear central bank intervention, and indeed there was seemingly little in the way of further CHF appreciation. Yet the Euro/Swiss Franc exchange rate finished dangerously close to the contentious SFr 1.5000 mark. The Swiss National Bank has twice defended said level through aggressive forex market intervention, and any further EUR/CHF declines would certainly test the bank’s resolve. A busy Swiss economic calendar promises no shortage of volatility across CHF pairs, and the coming week may prove pivotal in determining trajectory in the USD/CHF and EUR/CHF.

Recent price action has emphasized that the Swiss Franc remains quite sensitive to moves in key risky asset classes, and traders should primarily watch moves in the US S&P 500 and similarly significant risk barometers in the days ahead. In terms of specific event risk, markets will keep an eye on upcoming KOF Leading Indicator data and the following day’s SVME Purchasing Managers Index report. The Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) recently upgraded its forecasts for domestic economic growth through the medium term—likely leading to similarly bullish calls for upcoming financial economic data. Indeed, consensus forecasts ahead of the often market-moving Swiss KOF report calls for the first positive reading in 12 months. Suffice it to say, a disappointing result could easily hurt the recent wave of optimism for the domestic economy. The following SVME Purchasing Managers Index is likewise expected to improve to its strongest levels in over a year, and disappointments could similarly limit further CHF advances.

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