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Swiss Franc Strengthens Against Majors; SNB Vows EUR/CHF 1.20 Cap

The Swiss franc strengthened on Wednesday morning amid Swiss National Bank reiterated its stance to keep the EUR/CHF floor rate at 1.20.

Swiss National Bank's interim President Thomas Jordan said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the central bank will continue to enforce the minimum exchange rate at CHF 1.20 per euro, without any restrictions.

Jordon's comments came in response to the franc's rise to 1.20 per euro euro last Thursday.

"The fact that a few individual transactions at less than CHF 1.20 per euro were observed last Thursday has led to some isolated doubts being raised about the SNB's resolve to enforce its minimum exchange rate," Jordon said.

The franc touched 1.2014 against the euro around 6:00 am ET, just a few pips off its cap and the pair has been staying around the 1.2015 area since then.

Germany's wholesale price inflation slowed for the second consecutive month in March, data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed today.

The wholesale price index increased 2.2 percent on an annual basis in March, slower than the 2.6 percent growth seen in February. In January and December, the index rose 3 percent each.

Month-on-month, wholesale prices moved up 0.9 percent in March, following the previous month's 1 percent growth.

The franc was up almost 30-pips against the pound from yesterday's close, hitting as high as 1.4545 before holding steady around 6:00 am ET.

Retail sales in the U.K. rose in March as unusually warm weather encouraged spending on clothing, footwear and outdoor leisure, a report from the British Retail Consortium revealed.

The BRC's monthly sales monitor showed a 1.3 percent year-over-year rise in same-store retail sales, while overall sales, which include stores opened in the past year, were up 3.6 percent against a 1.9 percent decline last year.

The franc that fell to a 5-week low of 87.81 against the yen bounced back to hit a high of 88.58 around 6:00 am ET and the pair leveled off thereafter.

The Bank of Japan said today that the economy is expected to return to a moderate recovery path as the pace of recovery in overseas economies picks up and as reconstruction-related demand after the earthquake disaster gradually strengthens.

"Japan's economic activity has shown some signs of picking up, although it has remained more or less flat," the BoJ said in its monthly report.

Yesterday, the policy board decided to retain the benchmark uncollateralized overnight call rate at 0-0.1 percent. Also, it refrained from announcing additional stimulus.

The franc rose to a 1-week high of 0.9132 against the US dollar by 6:00 am ET, having advanced almost 100-pips from last week's 3-week high of 0.9224.

Looking ahead, the U.S. export and import price data for February and the Federal Reserve's Beige book are slated for release in the New York session.

by RTT Staff Writer

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