Opening Remarks, Conference “Seventy Years After: The Final Collapse of the Gold Standard in September 1936”
Jean-Pierre Roth, Chairman of the Governing Board
Conference “Seventy Years After: The Final Collapse of the Gold Standard in September 1936”, University of Zurich, 15.12.2006
In the 1930s, all countries devalued their currencies or introduced exchange controls. Switzerland and the other gold bloc countries held out longest and tried to restore competitiveness by reducing domestic costs and prices. This policy largely failed so that the recovery started later than in the countries which had devalued between 1931 and 1935.
The devaluation of the Swiss franc in September 1936 was a shock, since the monetary authorities had been emphasising repeatedly that devaluation was no remedy. However, it was not seen to herald the end of the gold-backed system. It took about 40 years – and many other difficulties – before flexible exchange rates were regarded as a feasible option, and more than 60 years before the gold parity of the franc was removed from the statute book.