Continuity and change in Swiss monetary policy

Bruno Gehrig, Vice Chairman of the Governing Board

Swiss-German Economic Club, Frankfurt am Main, 30.10.2001

Unlike various other central banks, the Swiss National Bank did not have to adopt any fundamental conceptual reforms in recent years: it has long pursued a policy that is primarily oriented to price stability and it has been performing its tasks independent of the government. Furthermore, it has not used any regulatory, interventionist instruments since 1980. Experience has shown that the modernisation measures implemented at the beginning of 2000 have been effective.

Economic prospects have become decidedly gloomier in the past few months. The clearly parallel downturn in the OECD economies is particularly striking. In this environment, business activity in Switzerland, too, is expected to weaken further. By lowering its interest rate twice in September, the National Bank responded to the cyclical and exchange-rate development. The further economic outlook remains clouded by substantial uncertainty.