NPR logo Swiss To Everybody Else: Go Away. Now.


Swiss To Everybody Else: Go Away. Now.

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Are you scared about the global economy? Do you think Switzerland, with its low debt, low unemployment and strong exports would be a great place to park your money?

The Swiss National Bank has a message for you: Go away. Now.

In a short, dramatic statement this morning, the Swiss central bank promised to drive down the value of the Swiss franc, and to hold it down.

The franc has gone through the roof over the past year, as scared investors traded dollars for euros and francs. As we reported on Friday, that has made the country's exports more expensive, which in turn has hurt the Swiss economy.

The Swiss National Bank said in its statement today that it will "buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities" in order to drive the value of the franc back down. The bank can do this because it's able to print new francs out of thin air.

The SNB is telling scared investors, take your dollars and euros and buy gold, or buy yen, or buy U.S. Treasuries or German bunds. Do whatever you want. Just stop buying Swiss francs.

The message has gotten through: The value of the franc fell by more than 8 percent this morning, immediately after the Swiss central bank made its announcement.