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Swiss Reject SNB Gold Initiative

Swiss Reject SNB Gold InitiativeSwiss Reject SNB Gold Initiative

Swiss voters rejected a referendum requiring their central bank to hold a portion of its assets in gold, a measure its President Thomas Jordan termed an “invitation to speculators” that could have hamstrung the economy.

The “Save Our Swiss Gold” proposal stipulating the Swiss National Bank hold at least 20 percent of its 520-billion-franc ($540 billion) balance sheet in gold and never sell any bullion was voted down by 78 percent to 22 percent, according to projections by Swiss television. Polls had forecast the initiative’s rejection. Two other initiatives on tax privileges for foreign millionaires and immigration limits also were rejected.

SNB policy makers warned repeatedly that the measure, which also required the 30 percent of central bank gold stored in Canada and the UK to be repatriated, would have made it harder to keep prices stable and shield the central bank’s cap on the franc of 1.20 per euro. That minimum exchange rate was set three years ago, with the SNB pledging to buy foreign currency in unlimited amounts to defend it.

“The key word is relief,” said Janwillem Acket, chief economist at Julius Baer Group Ltd. in Zurich. Due to the rejection, “the SNB has more options and fewer constraints on monetary policy,” he said.

 

Financialtribune.com