21 Jan 2015

The end of an overlooked European currency war

Daniel Gros

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On January 15th the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned the efforts it had taken since September 2011 to ensure that the Swiss franc/euro exchange rate would not fall below 1.2 Swiss francs per euro. The Swiss franc appreciated immediately by almost 20% (after a temporary overshot of an even larger amount).The justification was that speculative capital flows induced by the euro crisis were driving the Swiss franc above its equilibrium value.

Daniel Gros draws some important general lessons in this Commentary from the Swiss case and finds that the move by the SNB to stop its interventions will have an important impact on the euro-area economy.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.