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Swiss franc strengthens

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by Elaine Frei

With the world seeing political strife and other problems in Iraq and Iran, in North Korea, in Nigeria, and now in Israel and Palestine, the Swiss franc again seems to be living up to its reputation as a safe investment in times of trouble. In recent weeks, the Swissie has been falling, but Thursday saw it add 0.2 percent to SFr1.2321 versus the US dollar, and it was 0.3 percent higher in relation to the euro.

Sterling was also up amid the world’s troubles, but analysts were divided on the reasons for its gains. Some said it was a result of buying by Middle Eastern nations that don’t want excessive exposure to the US dollar, while others attributed it to mergers and acquisitions moves in the UK. Whatever the reason, sterling gained 0.4 percent to $1.8404 against the US dollar and it was up 0.5 percent to £0.6886 versus the euro.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar added 0.2 percent to $0.7532 in relation to its US counterpart after a report said that 52,000 jobs were created in June, when only 10,000 jobs were expected to be created. In addition, analysts expect the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates to 5.75 percent at the beginning of August.

The Israeli and Lebanese currencies both saw declines after attacks by Israel on Lebanese targets. The Israeli sheckel lost 1.6 percent to the US dollar, to Shk4.508, bringing its decline over two days to 2.9 percent. The Lebanese pound lost less than that after the central bank there intervened, falling a fraction to L£1,514 versus the greenback.

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News posted: July 13, 2006

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