This article is written by Eric Schreiber, independent asset manager, former head of commodities UBP, former head of precious metals Credit Suisse Zurich. All views expressed are his and may not reflect those of his former employers.
The Swiss will vote on a referendum on November 30th that would ban the Swiss National Bank (SNB) from selling current and future gold reserves, repatriate foreign stored gold holdings to Switzerland, and mandate that gold must comprise a minimum of 20% of central bank assets. The SNB does not usually comment on political referendums. However, in this case it has done so quite vocally.
Why has the central bank decided to step into the political fray and oppose this initiative? What are its concerns? Are they valid or motivated by other factors?
The SNB’s primary objections to the gold initiative are three fold. 1) It claims that gold is “one of the most volatile and riskiest investments”, 2) that a 20% gold requirement will lower the “distributions to the confederation and the cantons” since gold does not pay interest like bonds and dividend paying stocks, and 3) that the 20% gold holding requirement will interfere with its ability to conduct monetary policy and complicate efforts to maintain “the minimum exchange rate”, the “temporary” policy of pegging the Swiss franc (CHF) to the Euro (EUR) it initiated in 2011 and continues to enforce to this day.
Is the bottom really in? Could there be a final capitulation just ahead of us? Should you be long or short right now?
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