Catherine's Feed
Feb 23, 2012

Swiss Re CFO sees opportunity, risk in hybrid debt

ZURICH, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Bank bonds that convert to
equity are attractive investments for insurers, although buying
too many would risk turning them into the last bulwark of
support for the banking sector, Swiss Re’s (SRENH.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) finance
chief said.

“There’s certainly a position in our portfolio for
contingent convertible bonds as an investor,” George Quinn told
Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Feb 21, 2012

Pharmaceuticals drive Swiss export growth in January

ZURICH, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Strong demand for
pharmaceuticals helped Swiss exports recover in January,
weathering the impact of the strong franc and potentially
muffling calls for the central bank to do more to weaken the
currency.

The Swiss National Bank capped the franc at an upper limit
of 1.20 per euro on Sept. 6, but the Swiss currency is still
nearly 30 percent stronger than it was before the financial
crisis erupted in 2008.

Feb 17, 2012

Embattled Swiss central bank supervisor to stand down

ZURICH, Feb 17 (Reuters) – The head of the Swiss
National Bank’s supervisory council, sharply criticised for
standing by ex-Chairman Philipp Hildebrand in an uproar over a
currency trade, announced on Friday he will not stand for
re-election.

Hildebrand quit last month, apparently forced out when
emails failed to clear him of involvement in a trade made by his
wife three weeks before the SNB set a cap on the Swiss franc’s
surging value, prompting criticism she had benefited from
privileged information.

Feb 8, 2012

Frontrunners for Swiss central bank board

ZURICH, Feb 8 (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank’s
(SNB) governing board is seeking a new member to set monetary
policy and curb the franc’s strength after Philipp Hildebrand
resigned as chairman following an uproar over a controversial
currency trade.

The bank’s supervisory council apparently forced Hildebrand
to step down after emails failed to clear him of involvement in
the deal.

Feb 7, 2012

Swiss central banker a euro crisis Nostradamus?

ZURICH (Reuters) – Nearly two decades ago, the man now likely to become the head of Switzerland’s central bank foresaw the neighboring euro zone’s troubles in a doctoral thesis, saying the likes of Ireland, Italy and Greece would not be able to control their debt.

Vice Chairman Thomas Jordan, who has served on the Swiss National Bank’s governing board since 2007 and is currently interim chairman, also said a currency union gave some states the incentive to load up on debt and could lead to a banking crisis.

Feb 7, 2012

Swiss risk deflation if euro crisis worsens: Jordan

GENEVA/ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank fears that an escalation of the euro zone’s debt crisis could prompt deflation, Thomas Jordan said in his first speech since becoming interim chairman of the central bank, stressing his determination to keep a lid on the franc.

The SNB capped the franc at 1.20 per euro on September 6 to prevent Switzerland from tipping into recession and suffering deflation. Safe-haven buyers worried about the euro zone’s debts had pushed the franc up by 20 percent in just a few months.

Feb 7, 2012

Swatch profits surge as Chinese sales continue to rise

ZURICH, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Strong demand for expensive
watches in China helped Swatch Group clock up an 18
percent rise in profits last year and sales in the current year
are still on the rise, the world’s largest watchmaker said on
Tuesday.

The Swiss group, which also announced a 15 percent increase
in its dividend payout, said it had seen a double-digit
percentage rise in watch and jewellery sales in January,
although experts say the overall pace of industry growth is
likely to slow to 5-10 percent this year as sluggish demand in
mature markets takes its toll.

Jan 16, 2012

Frontrunners for Swiss central bank board

ZURICH, Jan 16 (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank
(SNB) is seeking a new board member to help decide policy on
interest rates and how far to limit the strength of the
safe-haven franc after Philipp Hildebrand resigned as chairman
over a currency trade made by his wife.

The bank’s supervisory council apparently forced Hildebrand
to step down after emails failed to clear him of involvement in
the deal.

Jan 13, 2012

SNB expects FY profit as franc cap helps FX result

ZURICH, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank
expects to swing to a profit in 2011, helped by its
foreign currency positions and by a rise in the value of its
gold holdings, a boon to its credibility and reinforcing its
ability to defend its cap on the Swiss franc.

The SNB expects a 2011 profit of 13 billion Swiss francs
($13.7 billion), preliminary data provided by the SNB on Friday
showed.

Jan 12, 2012

SNB vacancy should be filled before May – council member

GENEVA/ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss government should fill the vacancy at the central bank left by Philipp Hildebrand’s resignation quickly rather than waiting until April or May, a member of the bank’s supervisory council said on Thursday.

Hildebrand was forced to step down as Swiss National Bank chairman on Monday, after emails cast doubt on his earlier claims not to have known about a big dollar trade made by his wife weeks before he imposed a cap on the soaring Swiss franc.