S&P: Swiss companies will shrug off a strong franc

Jessica Morris
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Swiss exports will shrug off a strong Franc (Source: Getty)

Standard & Poor's has said Swiss companies will shrug off the fall-out from a strong franc, following concerns the central bank's shock decision to remove its currency ceiling would be detrimental for the country's exporters.

In a statement released today, the credit ratings agency said earnings of Swiss companies will be "moderately" affected by a strong franc, with many being "well hedged" for such a scenario.

"We do not expect financial risk profiles at any of our rated companies to deteriorate as a direct result of the currency movements stemming from the Swiss National Bank's change in policy," it said.

This echoes comments from Swiss finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who said the Swiss economy would weather a strong franc. "I'm confident the economy will be able to cope with this decision," she told a local newspaper.

However, a union which represents industrial companies in Switzerland also told the Swiss media one in five industrial firms were facing an "existential threat" as a consequence of the policy U-turn.

Last week the Swiss National Bank (SNB) shocked markets by dropping its four-year old currency ceiling, which had been put into place to stop the currency rapidly appreciating against the euro.

Markets reacted wildly, and the Swiss franc soared as much as 37 per cent against the euro on the day, while Swiss shares shed over 10 per cent.

The currency ceiling was first introduced during the depths of the financial crisis, as Switzerland's "safe-haven" status spurred worried Eurozone investors to park cash there, causing its currency to appreciate against the weakening euro.

This hurt the country's exporters by making their goods and services less competitive internationally, and also reduced the cost of imports which risked pulling the country into prolonged deflation.

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