Thursday, 22 July 2010

Swiss currency is safest and IMF doubt EU none shall fail stress tests

I have a strong sense of deja vu on these two topics. The Swiss Franc, Swissie in the City, has always been the ultimate safe haven currency. Its backed by a relatively small economy so cannot absorb the funds others wish to transfer into Swiss Francs in stressful times. For a while the Japanese Yen  was perceived as a safe haven backed by a huge economy but  unfortunately Japan is now also drowning in debt so has lost its safe haven appeal.

There are currently huge flows into the Swissie from the Euro particularly Germany. The SNB tried to absorb this by selling SF for Euro but like the UK in 92 they were swamped by the market volume. The last time this became critical for the Swiss in the 70s they imposed negative interest rates on foreign holders of their currency. They may yet have to do this again.

My annual ski jaunt to Switzerland is starting to look very expensive!

The IMF is making increasingly concerned noises about the less than stressful Eurozone bank stress tests. In particular the lack of a sovereign default test and a transparency of how much such Eurocrap the Eurozone banks are holding. Transparency on the former is political poison to the Eurocrats and we have not yet seen any transparency from the banks on the amount of US trailer trash toxic debt they hold.

Why do the Yanks go Scot free after deliberately polluting the whole world financial system and BP get trashed for an accident? Phrases like too big to fail and only those with US votes count come to mind.

In the UK educational system we have seen the results of the none shall fail policy, an inexorable decline in standards. Thus will it be with banks and the money markets will decide between good and bad banks just as UK parents with money can decide between good and bad schools.

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