The Swiss franc rose to a high against the euro on Tuesday and a seven-month peak against the dollar as nervousness over the health of the global economy boosted haven demand for the Swiss currency.
Some analysts raised concerns that the fresh surge in the Swiss franc could prompt renewed action to stem its gains from the Swiss National Bank, which shelved its policy of intervention in June, saying Swiss deflationary risks had all but disappeared.
David Deddouche, of Société Générale, said the Swiss franc would probably continue to climb but that the SNB was unlikely to intervene, given that other large central banks were considering an extension of quantitative easing while Switzerland was in the early stages of an exit from ultra-loose monetary policy.
He said further interventions from the SNB would be unsustainable because they would not be consistent with its policy stance.
“If the SNB has to move towards another round of QE at some stage, something unlikely for now, then FX intervention would again be possible,” Mr Deddouche said.
Late in New York, the Swiss franc had risen 1.1 per cent to SFr1.2856 against the euro and gained 1.2 per cent to SFr1.0142 against the dollar.
Meanwhile, the yen, which like the Swiss franc has benefited from haven demand during the recent rise in risk aversion, advanced towards a 15-year high against the dollar as investors shrugged off the Bank of Japan’s latest attempt to rein in the currency.
On Monday BoJ announced an extension in its cheap loan scheme to banks, a move designed to ease monetary policy and take some steam out of the yen’s recent rally.
But after its brief sell-off on Monday, the yen rose on Tuesday as investors reasoned that the move was the least that the Japanese authorities could have done to stem gains in the yen, and that physical intervention by Tokyo in the currency markets was still some way off.
The yen rose 0.8 to Y83.92 against the dollar, its highest since hitting a 15-year peak of Y83.57 a week ago.
The dollar was 0.1 per cent weaker at $1.2676 against the euro but rose 0.8 per cent to $1.5344 against the pound. The US currency climbed 0.6 per cent to C$1.0666 against the Canadian dollar after Canadian growth came in weaker than expected in the second quarter, undermining expectations that the Bank of Canada would raise interest rates at its policy meeting this month.
Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar dropped 1.5 per cent to $0.6966 against the US dollar after South Canterbury Finance, one of the country’s largest privately-owned finance companies, went into receivership.