As expected, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) rose the key interest rate by 75 basis points on Thursday. Analysts at Wells Fargo, believe the SNB will continue tightening monetary policy but will deliver rate hikes of smaller magnitude, amid an outlook of slower growth and somewhat more contained inflation next year.
“The announcement's forward guidance was not as hawkish compared to many other global central banks' comments. Rather than signaling forceful rate hikes ahead, the SNB instead repeated that it cannot be ruled out that further increases in the SNB policy rate will be necessary to ensure price stability over the medium term. In addition, the central bank indicated it remains willing to intervene in the foreign exchange market as necessary.”
“With the updated SNB forecasts showing annual average inflation of 2.4% for 2023 and 1.7% for 2024, we believe the central bank will continue tightening monetary policy, although larger rate hikes are likely not needed given inflation is expected to be closer to target by the end of 2023.”
“While our base case is for smaller magnitude rate hikes in the coming quarters, we would not fully rule out a 75 bps rate hike in December. Since the SNB only has one monetary policy meeting per quarter, half as many as the ECB, the central bank could opt to deliver a larger rate hike to account for this. The central bank has also repeatedly emphasized its commitment to support the franc in order to soften the blow from higher import prices and inflationary pressures. While its willingness to intervene in foreign exchange markets is an important policy lever, large rate hikes that support the currency could also complement these actions.”