Tags: Switzerland | gold | standard | bank

The Atlantic: It Could Be Back to the Future With a Swiss Gold Standard

By    |   Monday, 10 November 2014 10:02 AM

It's no joke — traditional safe-haven Switzerland could actually switch back to a gold standard depending on the decision of voters there later this month.

A lot of countries ended their currencies' ties to gold decades ago. The U.S. was actually late to that particular party, and did not end its link to gold until 1971.

But Swiss voters only severed their nation's ties to gold in 1999. Now, it appears many of them want to go back, according to The Atlantic.

A good part of the reason may be that the Swiss currency recently has been so strong, it has slashed Switzerland's high-value exports by making them too costly.

So if backers of the "Save Our Swiss Gold" initiative have their way, Switzerland's famous bank vaults will be stuffed higher with the yellow metal following a Nov. 30 ballot initiative, the magazine noted.

The measure from the right-leaning Swiss People's Party would stop the Swiss National Bank from selling gold, require that the bank maintain 20 percent of its assets in gold within five year (up from an estimated 8 percent now) and demand that all of the nation's gold be stored in Switzerland itself.

"While it's not strictly the same thing as a gold standard—for instance a classical gold standard stipulated that national banknotes be freely converted to gold at a fixed price—the Swiss gold initiative is a step in that direction," The Atlantic reported.

The magazine said that the effect of recent efforts by the Swiss National Bank to debase its currency to make goods more competitive on world markets would likely be reversed with a closer gold link.

It might actually be unwise to link to gold now since its price has steadily tumbled from a 2011 high of about $1,900 per ounce to approximately $1,160 per ounce Monday.

"Committing to buy now would essentially be a giant bailout for speculators in the gold markets," The Atlantic concluded.

"And if current price trends continue, the value of that gold would be falling."

The magazine did not give the ballot measure on gold much chance of becoming law.

However, The Wall Street Journal reported that a recent poll showed the vote could be close.

Even if the measure somehow wins approval, there would be consequences, Bloomberg reported. Joni Teves, an analyst at UBS AG, said, "It would have a major impact if it passes. If they do launch a buying program, it would have effectively a constant bid in the market."

Bank of America analyst Michael Widmer told Bloomberg passage could force push gold above $1,350 an ounce. He estimated it would create a "firm" support at $1,200 per ounce because the Swiss National Bank would need to buy about 1,500 tons to meet the requirements of the initiative.

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It's no joke — traditional safe-haven Switzerland could actually switch back to a gold standard depending on the decision of voters there later this month.
Switzerland, gold, standard, bank
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2014-02-10
Monday, 10 November 2014 10:02 AM
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