November 20, 2019 / 6:32 PM / a month ago

Swiss National Bank's Maechler says negative interest rates vital

ZURICH, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Negative interest rates remain “absolutely necessary” for Switzerland, Swiss National Bank governing board member Andrea Maechler said on Wednesday, as pressure mounts on the central bank to change course from its ultra-expansive monetary policy.

The Swiss franc remains “highly valued” with the currency sought by investors as a safe haven investment, Maechler said in the last public appearance of a policymaker before the SNB’s quarterly rates review on Dec. 12.

“Negative interest rates remain absolutely necessary for Switzerland,” Maechler told an event in Zurich, describing one of the tools the SNB has used to dampen demand for the franc.

For nearly five years, the SNB has charged a negative rate of -0.75%, one of the lowest rates in the world.

Reporting by John Revill Editing by Chris Reese

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