In his keynote speech, Fritz Zurbrügg looked at the current economic situation in Switzerland and throughout the world from a macroeconomic perspective. Following the pandemic, the global economy is still on the road to recover; however, the outlook has soured somewhat since January. He explained that greater levels of uncertainty were macroeconomic poison, and that this is the first time that central banks are having to deal with supply bottlenecks. Real incomes are falling because of inflation caused by post-pandemic growth, the war in Ukraine, supply bottlenecks and the nominal appreciation of the franc.
The SNB does not expect a sustained period of high inflation because, for example, energy prices and supply bottlenecks would have to develop at the same pace as in the last year or a wage-price spiral would have to emerge. The SNB is paying attention to these drivers. Zurbrügg believes that the Swiss financial system is well positioned for the future. However, he is concerned that an entire generation has forgotten the regressive and significant impact that inflation has, in particular on low-income households.
Both in his speech and subsequent discussions, he emphasized the SNB’s primary objective on a number of occasions: To ensure price stability. He explained that this must take priority over other ambitions, whether this is demands for emancipation from the ECB, for a direct, extraordinary distribution of SNB profits, for a sovereign wealth fund or for targeted action on climate change. With ESG criteria in particular, he is always surprised at the sometimes naive approach towards the complexity of the topic.
SIX Swiss Exchange would like to thank all the speakers for their valuable insights, inputs and opinions. Don’t forget: The next BörsenTalk will take place in June 2023 – put the date in your diary now!