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Swiss Bank Group Lambasts Negative Rates for Damaging the Economy

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 The Swiss Bankers Association criticized the central bank’s policy of negative rates, saying it was causing “massive structural damage” to the economy.

At -0.75%, the Swiss National Bank’s policy rate is the lowest in the G-10 as the central bank tries to stem appreciation pressure on the haven franc. With momentum flagging, euro-area officials are likely to announce a further cut to already sub-zero interest rates later on Thursday and may also announce new asset purchases. That could prompt the SNB to deliver a rate cut of its own.

In addition to hampering Swiss banks’ competitiveness internationally, negative interest rates are “result in bubbles and damage the competitiveness of the Swiss economy long term because they keep unprofitable companies alive artificially,” the sector representative said. “Negative interest rates also put the pensions of Swiss citizens at risk. A further lowering of interest rates would further exacerbate this issue.”

Unlike neighboring Italy, Switzerland hasn’t struggled with non-performing loans on banks’ balance sheets. SNB President Thomas Jordan has also said that it’s low real interest rates globally that are making life difficult for savers.

The SNB’s next policy announcement is scheduled for Sept. 19.

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EUR/GBP Forecast: Euro in the Crosshairs, Can the ECB Deliver on Stimulus?

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EUR/GBP Exchange Rate Muted ahead of ECB Rate Decision

The Euro Pound (EUR/GBP) exchange rate remains rangebound this morning as markets brace for what could be an explosive policy decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) this afternoon.

At the time of writing EUR/GBP exchange rate is almost unchanged from this morning’s opening levels, leaving the pairing trading at around £0.8947.

Can the ECB Live Up to Market Expectations?

All eyes are on the European Central Bank today as it prepares to deliver what could be its most important policy decision in years.

Growth in the Eurozone has slowed significantly in recent months, with the bloc’s manufacturing sector deep in contraction and Germany teetering on the edge of a recession.

As a result economists are expecting the ECB will looking to ease its monetary policy to spur growth, with the announcement of what has been billed as a ‘substantial’ stimulus package.

Expectations are high, but the question on everybody’s lips is what might the package include and if it be enough to lift the Eurozone out of the doldrums, with the risk of the Euro (EUR) falling if the measures disappoint.In a note to clients Commerzbank warned:

‘There is high uncertainty about the extent of the expansionary measures the ECB will implement today; and therefore there is large potential for strong fluctuations in the euro exchange rates.’

This comes amid signs that some members of the ECB’s governing council are resistant to the idea of reopening the ECB’s quantitative easing programme, having weaned the Eurozone economy off of bond purchases less than a year ago.

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Euro pauses before ECB meeting as trade thaw triggers risk rally

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The euro hovered near $1.10 on Thursday as traders waited to see the scale of fresh stimulus expected from the European Central Bank, while China's yuan and Australia's dollar were buoyed by further signs of a thaw in the U.S.-China trade war.

After a difficult August in which concerns about a global recession sparked a scramble into safer assets, investors have been returning to riskier markets this month, encouraged by China and the United States making moves to ease trade tensions and by receding fears of a no-deal Brexit.

China on Wednesday exempted a basket of U.S. goods from its tariffs, while U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet he would delay a scheduled tariff hike by two weeks in October.

Export-driven Asian currencies from Taiwan to Australia rallied on the buoyant mood as the world's two largest economies each granted concessions in their heated tariff dispute.

The Japanese yen, the go-to safe haven currency for nervous investors, fell to a six-week low against the dollar. The yen breached the 108 mark and was last at 107.98 yen per dollar, down 0.1% on the day and far from its seven-month high of 104.46 plumbed last month.

The Aussie hit a six-week high and the offshore Chinese yuan rose 0.5% to a three-week high of 7.0737 against the dollar.

Market attention now turns to the ECB, the first of a series of major central bank events, with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan meeting next week.

Investors almost universally expect a rate cut at Thursday's ECB meeting as policymakers try to prop up the region's ailing economy.

The real uncertainty is whether policymakers will restart a quantitative easing program after some members of the governing council in recent weeks expressed doubt about the need to relaunch asset purchases.

SEB strategist Jussi Hiljanen said he expected the ECB to cut the deposit rate by 10 basis points, extend the forward guidance on rates by six months and announce the restart of a quantitative easing program with monthly purchases lower than the market anticipated.

"Such a package of stimulus measures would be a disappointment for the market, pushing long rates higher and EUR/USD higher and steepening the curve," Hiljanen said.

The single currency (EUR=EBS) has shed 3.5% since June and was steady at $1.1017 in early European trade.

The dollar was slightly lower against a basket of currencies at 98.599 (DXY).

Sterling was little changed (EURGBP=D3). The pound rocketed to a six-week high on Monday, reversing last week's losses as investors welcomed the British parliament's move to block a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31.

Despite the more positive mood in risk assets this week, analysts expressed some caution about its sustainability."Just as the presidential tweet on tariffs this morning has injected more momentum ... we are only one social media posting away from a thoroughly unpredictable President turning sentiment on its head," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at brokerage OANDA.

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RBI creates database for stressed loans of NBFCs

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has built a database of stressed non-banking finance company (NBFC) loans, similar to the Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) that it has built for banks in 2014, sources privy to the developments told CNBC-TV18.

According to multiple people familiar with the development, the central bank has directed the NBFCs to inform the RBI database about SMA 1 and SMA 2 loans since last year.

SMA 1 refers to those loan accounts in which the instalment or interest is overdue for 1 month from 31st day to 60 days. SMA 2 refers to accounts in which the instalment or interest is overdue for 2 months from 61st days to 90 days.

For the past year or so, the data given by the NBFCs to the central bank is methodically arranged, plus the RBI has other data too, sources in the know told CNBC-TV18.

NBFCs, including housing finance companies (HFCs), came under stress following a series of defaults by the group companies of IL&FS in September last year.

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