Europe

Nordic & Swiss

SNB’s patience appears to be wearing thin

We argued this week that the upside for the Swiss franc was limited and its inability to push past the CHF 1.04 per euro mark suggests that policymakers’ patience may already have been exhausted. We await the publication of the weekly sight deposit by the SNB on Monday to confirm our suspicions that the Bank has seen enough. But if the SNB is to avoid adding substantially to its already-bloated balance sheet, it will be hoping – like the rest of us – that Omicron fears blow over soon. Next week, we expect data to show that mainland GDP in Norway rose by about 0.2% m/m in October and that core inflation remained well below target in November.

3 December 2021

Pandemic-era lessons for the Swiss franc

Given the uncertainty around Omicron, and the revealed preference of the SNB in recent weeks to largely stay out of the FX market, we would not be surprised to see the Swiss franc rise further against the euro in the near term. But any upside is limited, and the balance of risks is tilted towards depreciation in 2022. In view of the wider interest, we are also sending this Nordic and Swiss Economics Update to clients of our FX Market Service.

1 December 2021

Switzerland CPI & Manufacturing PMIs (Nov.)

Inflation surprised on the upside in Switzerland in November, but this was due to temporary factors and it is likely to fall back to below 1.0% over the coming months. The upshot is that there is next to no chance of the SNB tightening policy anytime soon, and the big question mark is when it might intervene.

1 December 2021
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Virus news testing the SNB; “Take 2” for Swedish PM

Market worries about the B.1.1.529 virus variant have exacerbated upward pressure on the safe-haven Swiss franc and will test the SNB’s tolerance of a stronger currency. In our view, the Bank seems to be focused on managing rather than preventing the appreciation against the euro and we suspect that it will eschew large-scale interventions unless the franc reaches the CHF 1.025 per euro mark. Next week, we expect Swedish national accounts data to show that GDP rose by 1.8% q/q in Q3, while Swiss inflation data are likely to show that the headline rate edged down to 1.1% in November.

26 November 2021

Riksbank injects a dash of hawkishness

In comparison to the chaotic scenes in the Riksdag yesterday, the Riksbank’s November meeting was a more sedate affair. While the Bank is in no rush to raise the repo rate, the insertion of a rate hike into the end of its three-year projection period means it is no longer as decidedly dovish.

Scandinavia & Switzerland: Values to rise further

The rebound in economic activity and robust investor demand paved the way for a continued improvement in Scandinavian and Swiss property markets in Q3. Office and industrial values rose further, as strong competition pushed down yields. Retail yields also fell in Stockholm. But we think its too soon to call a turning point for retail. Indeed, retail rents also fell, indicating that conditions in the sector are still weak. Nevertheless, the better outlook for the other sectors means we think that all-property values will rise further. That said, with economic growth expected to slow in the coming months and structural shifts weighing on retail and office sectors, the pace of improvement is likely to moderate.

The energy crisis rumbles on …

This week showed that the energy crisis is not in the rear-view mirror just yet. Germany’s energy regulator suspended its certification process of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on Tuesday, owing to issues regarding the organisational structure of the pipeline’s ownership (rather than a political energy supply security assessment). Markets took the surprise delay, which was not previously expected to be an issue in the approval process, badly as prices soared by 18%. It is now increasingly unlikely that gas flows through Nord Stream 2 will ease the shortage of stocks in Europe over this winter. What’s more, there is little evidence that flows from Russia have increased as suggested might happen by President Putin. And European stocks are both much lower than normal levels and now falling in line with seasonal norms. As a result, we suspect that gas prices will remain high over the next few months. Looking to the week ahead, the main data release will be November’s batch of flash PMIs on Tuesday. We expect that those in the Euro-zone will soften and show the impact of recent surges in virus cases, which probably dampened international and domestic travel and oil demand.

SNB abandons its long-standing line of defence

We argued only last week that the SNB would be comfortable with letting the Swiss franc rise against the euro. As it happens, after the franc pushed through the long-defended CHF 1.05 per euro mark in trading this morning, we didn’t have to wait long to be vindicated. We think that large-scale interventions are unlikely unless the franc pushes towards CHF 1.025 per euro. Meanwhile, Swedish policymakers are all but certain to leave their policy settings on hold at the Riksbank’s scheduled announcement next Thursday, but we expect them to dial down the dovishness a bit.

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