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ZURICH, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Swatch Group Chief Executive Nick Hayek called the Swiss National Bank's decision to discontinue the minimum exchange rate on the Swiss franc a "tsunami" for the Alpine country and its economy.
"Words fail me! Jordan is not only the name of the SNB president, but also of a river and today's SNB action is a tsunami; for the export industry and for tourism, and finally for the entire country," Hayek said in an emailed statement on Thursday.
Swiss watchmakers, which are also grappling with weak demand in Asia, are very exposed to moves in the Swiss franc exchange rate because their production costs are largely in Swiss francs, but most of their sales are done abroad.
Shares in Swatch Group fell 15 percent at 1056 GMT, while Richemont was down 14 percent, underperforming a 9 percent drop in the Swiss market index following the SNB's announcement.
"Absolutely shocking ... For companies with international operations - translated earnings are going to be lower and if companies make products in Switzerland it is going to hurt margin. It is a terrible day for corporate Switzerland," Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said. (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)