The Swiss National Bank in the Service of the Economy

Jean-Pierre Roth, Chairman of the Governing Board

Regionale Wirtschaftsförderung des Kantons Luzern (Regional Economic Development Organisation of the Canton of Lucerne), Lucerne, 10.09.2002

The National Bank serves the economy and society by pursuing price stability as its primary goal. However, it does not lose sight of the economic situation in general and exchange rates in particular. Given the time lag with which monetary policy takes hold and the considerable influence of the global economy, the National Bank's scope of action has its limits.

The economy's peaks and valleys in recent years illustrate quite well how central banks serve the economy. The National Bank first reacted to an accelerated slowdown in growth and subsequently to the rapid and marked increase in the weighted external value of the Swiss franc. Finally, it took steps to counter the delayed economic recovery.

We expect the economic outlook to brighten slowly but steadily in the time to come. In spite of the existing risks, especially with regard to the global economic picture, we have every reason to recognise the opportunities. In today's climate, excessive pessimism and scepticism are just as ill advised as were the unrestrained euphoria and optimism of the recent past.