The Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly introduced a negative interest rate, setting it at -0.25 percent. – This is a response to the appreciation of Swiss franc in recent times. Its exchange rate against euro reached 1.20. Since September 2011 SNB – in order to prevent the loss of competitiveness of domestic exporters – guards that level, not allowing for further appreciation of its currency – Łukasz Kozłowski, expert of Employers of Poland reminds us.
The SNB's decision may have some impact on the Polish economy. Just as after the introduction of a negative deposit rate by the European Central Bank, we may observe an increased demand for Polish bonds. This is due to the fact that investors looking for safe investments that bring some profit, start to buy debt securities from countries in our region that seemed to be too risky before. Greater demand for Polish government bonds would translate into a decrease in their profitability, and thus lower cost of servicing public debt and improved fiscal situation.
Lower interest rates in Switzerland also affect the situation of Poles repaying loans in Swiss francs. It seems most probable that the rate of LIBOR will fall by approx. 0.25 percentage points. - In this case, savings for Polish Families will amount to 32.8 million zlotys. This means that each person repaying a loan in francs will gain an average of 50 zlotys per year. It is not much but Polish economy may benefit from it due to increased domestic consumption and savings.
It seems that the measures taken should bring the desired effect, although it is not clear for how long they will be sufficient. Without a doubt, a significant number of investors, in order to avoid incurring losses, will start limiting Swiss frank assets in their portfolios. But as long as global financial markets prefer safe asset class, there will be demand even for deposits and bonds at negative interest rate but in a well perceived currency.
Łukasz Kozłowski, expert of the Employers of Poland