Swiss National Bank still ready to sell forex, Maechler says

ZURICH, March 30 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank remains ready to intervene in the foreign currency markets to combat inflation despite hiking interest rates last week, governing board member Andrea Maechler said on Thursday.

“In order to ensure appropriate monetary conditions, we remain prepared to be active on the foreign exchange market as needed,” Maechler told an event in Zurich.

The SNB has switched tack in recent months, away from selling Swiss francs to weaken the safe haven currency to selling foreign currencies to boost the franc’s value as a shield against imported inflation.

“For some quarters now, the focus has been on foreign exchange sales,” said Maechler, who is due to step down from the SNB at the end of June after an eight-year stint on its governing board.

In the fourth quarter of 2022 the central bank sold foreign currencies worth around 27 billion Swiss francs ($29.56 billion), SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan said last week.

Maechler was speaking a week after the central bank raised interest rates to 1.5%, its fourth increase in succession, as it wrestles with stubborn inflation.

Swiss inflation was reported at 3.4% in February, which although low in comparison to the 8.5% rate in the neighbouring eurozone, lies outside the SNB’s target band of 0% to 2%.

$1 = 0.9135 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill Editing by Tomasz Janowski