As a one-day upward move in a major currency its had few peers through history and is firmly in the top 10 of daily upward moves for any currency (vs the dollar) that we have data for which in many cases goes back into the nineteenth century. Most of the others in this top 10 are EM countries. So this is a rare event as when a peg gets abandoned and a big move ensues it’s usually a devaluation from a fixed rate system.What makes this move shocking is that just last month the SNB committed themselves to preventing their currency appreciating beyond 1.20 to the Euro and vowed they would enforce the policy with "the utmost determination". The risk for the global financial system is that if the SNB can make such a dramatic u-turn could other central banks follow at some point. We're not so concerned here as their situation is arguably a lot different to the ECB. The ECB might actually look at the wider market moves yesterday and be scared to disappoint.
Today, the "developed nation" hecklers are deathly silent after what may be the biggest western central bank faux pas in recent history, and which has - perhaps for the first time in history - manifested in lines of people in front of currency exchange bureaus nowhere else but in that bastion of capitalism: Geneva.
Remember, years ago, when the markets were a mechanism for honest price discovery and a gathering place for buyers and sellers to participate in open, unvarnished capitalism?
"we venture that the SNB will sooner or later be forced to permit the franc to appreciate and thus to enrich the holders of low-priced, three-year call options on the Swiss/euro exchange rate. It's a long shot, to be sure--the options are cheap for a reason--but we judge that the prospective reward is worth the obvious risk." - Jim Grant, Sept 14th, 2014
It appears the Swiss National Bank decided to wait til they saw the whites of the eyes of the 'speculators'. The SNB's surprise decision to scrap the EURCHF ceiling has unleashed major pain across the hedge fund community as speculators, according to CFTC data, are the most short Swiss Francs (long the USD) since June 2013. Holding a huge 24,171 contracts short USDCHF futures (which surged 24 handles on the news) will not go unnoticed by the margin clerks...
Muppet Murder: Goldman's "Top #6 Trade Reco For 2015" Crushed, Stopped Out After 16.5% Loss In One DaySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 14:21 -0400
It's a one-two for the muppet mauling masters at Goldman Sachs, who first crucified anyone who listened to the Buy Best Buy reco from Tuesday, and now, those who put their money into Top Trade #6 for 2015 by the Goldman uber traders, which was to Short CFH/SEK - obviously on margin - just got crucified after the unlevered pair just crashed 16.5%, stopping out those who listened to Goldman and sold CHFSEK to Goldman's prop, pardon flow, traders, and leading to a complete loss on margin, unless of course one has an infinite balance sheet.
We suspect there will be a few more "taps on the shoulder" tonight...
The Swiss National Bank just threw gasoline on Swiss F.I.RE. Expect to see combustive contagion in the Swiss banking, insurance and real estate giants as knock-on effects spread from so-called hedges
And to think so many otherwise very bright people still don't get it.
January 12, 2015: "We took stock of the situation less than a month ago, we looked again at all the parameters and we are convinced that the minimum exchange rate must remain the cornerstone of our monetary policy," SNB's Jean-Pierre Danthine.
January 15, 2015: "Recently, divergences between the monetary policies of the major currency areas have increased significantly – a trend that is likely to become even more pronounced. The euro has depreciated considerably against the US dollar and this, in turn, has caused the Swiss franc to weaken against the US dollar. In these circumstances, the SNB concluded that enforcing and maintaining the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the euro is no longer justified."
Chaos was seen in financial markets today as participants were thrown a curveball with the SNB 'reset'. In just 13 minutes, from 0930 to 0952 BST, the franc collapsed by 30%. Swiss shares fell more than 12% - their largest crash since 1987. Stock markets around Europe fell with investors buying "safe haven" assets such as German bunds and gold bullion ...
UBS' Take On The Swiss Shocker: "The SNB's Standing Is Undermined... There Could Be A Significant Deflationary Shock"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 09:01 -0400
The other question is about the cost of today's decision for the SNB, both in monetary and credibility terms. The SNB is holding roughly half of their CHF500bn in euros, which implies a loss of possibly not dissimilar to the CHF38bn that the SNB made in profit last year. The monetary impact might thus be manageable. The credibility impact might be harder to gauge though. Domestically, many economic actors relied on what was seen as a 'promise' to hold the 1.20 floor. Internationally, following the negative rates confusion back in December today's decision might be further undermined the standing of the SNB among investors.
"It's Carnage" - Swiss Franc Soars Most Ever After SNB Abandons EURCHF Floor; Macro Hedge Funds CrushedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 07:07 -0400
Over a decade ago, George Soros took on the Bank of England, and won. Less than two hours ago the Swiss National Bank took on virtually every single macro hedge fund, the vast majority of which were short the Swiss Franc and crushed them, when it announced, first, that it would go further into NIRP, pushing its interest rate on deposit balances even more negative from -0.25% to -0.75%, a move which in itself would have been unprecedented and, second, announcing that the 1.20 EURCHF floor it had instituted in September 2011, the day gold hit its all time nominal high, was no more. What happened next was truly shock and awe as algo after algo saw their EURCHF 1.1999 stops hit, and moments thereafter the EURCHF pair crashed to less then 0.75, margining out virtually every single long EURCHF position, before finally rebounding to a level just above 1.00, which is where it was trading just before the SNB instituted the currency floor over three years ago.
People are becoming more critical of our current monetary system. In the past six years, central banks have promised us growth within six months’ time. They and the whole monetary and financial system have lost credibility. The banks’ profit to GDP is the highest in history in an economic environment where we have the highest amount of unemployment since WWII. There is something very wrong with the way the system works and this is all due to the overemphasis on trying to minimize the business cycle. The real conclusion of QE can only become visible if we experience the full business cycle. In Jakobsen's view, we have never been allowed to have a down cycle since 2008. But now, there is finally going to be a down cycle because central planners can’t print more money. As Jakobsen puts it: “Now is the time for the real economy to take over”.