15:42Dec 03, 2021Reuters

Switzerland is no currency manipulator gov't says after U.S. report

Switzerland "does not engage in any manipulation of the Swiss franc", the government said on Friday, after the country featured in the latest U.S. Treasury report into the foreign exchange policies of the United States' trading partners.

Switzerland met two of the criteria and narrowly missed a third set by the Treasury to be branded a currency manipulator and so avoided the label in the report published on Friday.

But the findings meant Switzerland - along with 11 other countries - warranted "close attention" to its currency practices.

Washington would also continue an in-depth analysis of the Swiss situation and discuss the actions of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) which has tried for years to stem the appreciation of the safe-haven Swiss franc.

"Switzerland does not engage in any manipulation of the Swiss franc," the Swiss Finance Ministry said after the Treasury report was published. "It does not attempt to prevent balance of payments adjustments nor does it try to obtain unfair competitive advantages for the Swiss economy."

Switzerland's foreign currency purchases and its large trade surplus with the United States met the U.S. currency manipulation criteria, but its current account surplus fell just below the threshold required for the country to be labeled a manipulator.

Vietnam and Taiwan met all three criteria but also avoided the U.S. designation.

The Swiss franc continued to strengthen after the publication of the report, hitting 1.0373 against the euro, its strongest since June 2015.

The Swiss government said the SNB's currency interventions were necessary to ensure appropriate monetary conditions and maintain price stability.

"The SNB’s independence and room for maneuver to fulfill its mandate remains unchanged," the Swiss finance ministry said.

The central bank declined to comment how the report would affect its policy, but said it would continue to explain Switzerland's economic situation and monetary policy to the U.S. authorities.

Since abandoning its peg to the euro in 2015, the central bank has used foreign currency purchases and negative interest rates to rein in the franc, whose strength threatens Switzerland's export-reliant economy.

"Together with the Swiss authorities, the SNB remains in contact with the US authorities to explain Switzerland’s economic situation and monetary policy. We welcome these ongoing discussions," the SNB said.