EUR/CHF plunges to 2-year low, near floor rate of 1.20
EUR/CHF plunges to 2-year low, near floor rate of 1.20Reuters

The Swiss franc rallied to a two-year high against the euro on Wednesday with Swiss data coming better than expected, triggering concerns of fresh policy action by the Swiss authorities as the EUR/CHF cross is now closer to the central bank floor rate.

EUR/CHF slipped to as low as 1.2033 on 5 November, breaking the 4 September support of 1.2043, to its lowest since late November 2012. The floor rate set by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) for the cross is 1.2000.

The SVME purchasing managers' index released on 3 November showed the Swiss industry recovered better than expected in October. The PMI came in at 55.3 on a seasonally adduced basis, a 6-month high, up from a multi-month low of 50.4. Analysts were expecting only a relatively marginal increase to 51.3.

In the aftermath of the 29 October Fed policy statement that signalled a sooner than earlier US rate hike and the 31 October Bank of Japan decision to further stimulate the economy, markets worldwide are concerned about the authorities' reaction to the impact of the same on other currencies.

Some people have begun calling the BoJ move as the beginning of another round of 'currency war' and that is why the rise of the Swiss franc has become significant.

The SNB said in its 18 September policy statement that the economic outlook has deteriorated considerably and the Swiss franc is "still high."

The Swiss central bank also said it "will continue to enforce the minimum exchange rate with the utmost determination. For this purpose, it is prepared to purchase foreign currency in unlimited quantities. If necessary, it will take further measures immediately."

No central bank will go hawkish on a single data surprise but the details of the SVME data that came on Monday are interesting.

The sub-component "production" has climbed by 8.3 points to 62.6, its highest since February 2011. After two consecutive months of below-50 readings, the "order backlog" index has increased by 7.2 points to 56.7.

The market will also look at the consumer price data from Switzerland scheduled on 5 November, but the focus of the central bank is likely be on the currency-front with euro and other majors on the move on their own, which will for sure spill over into the Swiss currency.

The next SNB rate decision is on 11 December.

The CHF/JPY has jumped 5.7% to as high as 118.95 in less than four weeks. The cross is now at a 9-month high, and with a break of 119.20, it will move to a fresh multi-year high.

The USD/CHF pair had touched a 16-month high of 0.9693 prior to the SVME data, but eased to 0.9579 later.

Switzerland will have a relatively heavy economic calendar in November with third quarter GDP data (27 November) adding to the monthly releases of inflation (5th), unemployment (7th), producer price index (13th), trade balance (20th) and the KOF leading indicator (28th).