The Swiss franc made huge jumps across the board on Thursday as the Swiss National Bank in a surprise move scrapped its EUR/CHF floor rate of 1.2000.
The SNB move came just a week ahead of the European Central Bank policy review. The jump in the franc took the forex market for a ride, with the ripple effects seen in crosses without the Swiss unit as well.
The 1.8% drop in the EUR/USD took it to an 11-year low of 1.1577 while the EUR/AUD plunged to a 16-month low of 1.4163. The EUR/GBP plummeted to a seven-year low of 0.7635 before rebounding to 0.7688.
The ECB is widely expected to expand its bond buying programme at the forthcoming meeting to fight deflationary pressures in the region but that would mean the SNB would be forced to intensify market intervention to keep the floor rate with the common currency.
With the announcement of scrapping the floor, the franc has rallied nearly 40% against the euro with the EUR/CHF cross falling to 0.8598 from 1.2000 prior. The cross later rebounded above the parity rate and was at 1.02 at 12:25 GMT.
The USD/CHF plummeted to 0.7417 from 1.02 before rebounding to 0.8800. The franc is now up nearly 16% on the day against the greenback.
The GBP/CHF fell to a 3-1/2-year low from a four-year high with the SNB move. The cross was near 1.5549, its highest since early 2011, before the announcement, and after that, it was seen at 1.1528, it lowest since August 2011.
Even after a quick rebound to 1.3400, the cross is at a 3-1/2-year low, indicating the impact of the big SNB decision.
Gold rose to a four-month high of $1260 following the Swiss move while silver rallied to a one-month high of $17.22.
Platinum was up to a 10-week high of $1,256 while the gain in palladium did not make it to any similar historical level.