Monetary policy in a difficult environment

Bruno Gehrig, Vice Chairman of the Governing Board

Annual General Meeting of the Handels- und Industrieverein des Kantons Schwyz (Commerce and Industry Association of the Canton of Schwyz), Feusisberg, 26.09.2002

The economic revival, which – only a few months ago – most observers expected to take hold in the second half of this year, is being delayed further. This is true both of the OECD as a whole and of the Swiss economy. The National Bank took account of this change in assessment by lowering the mid-point of the interest rate target range to 0.75% on 26 July 2002. Switzerland's GDP should be close to stagnation this year and regain some momentum only in the course of 2003, driven mainly by the development of the world economy. Price stability is unlikely to be jeopardised in the foreseeable future, either through a deflationary or an inflationary development. However, there are still considerable uncertainties surrounding the global economic environment. Despite money market rates being at a record low, additional monetary policy measures might become necessary.