November 11, 2011 / 2:47 PM / 6 years ago

More steps on franc up to SNB - Swiss finance minister

LUCERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The cap on the Swiss franc imposed by the central bank has been helpful and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) will take further steps if it thinks they are necessary, the finance minister said on Monday.

“The national bank is independent. It will also take the necessary steps, if they are needed,” Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told a conference in the central Swiss city of Lucerne.

Her comments came after new speculation the SNB might move its cap to weaken the franc further after SNB Chairman Philipp Hildebrand told a newspaper on Sunday the central bank could take further measures if deflation threatened.

Under mounting pressure from Swiss business, the SNB capped a soaring Swiss franc at 1.20 francs per euro in September and pledged to defend that level with all means necessary.

Widmer-Schlumpf said the cap had helped the situation, adding: “Political support is essential to maintaining the credibility of this minimum exchange rate.”

The economic commission of the lower house of parliament called on the SNB to lift the cap to 1.30 francs per euro “as soon as possible”, the Swiss SDA news agency reported.

SDA reported the majority of the commission said the decision was up to the SNB, although a minority wanted the government to intervene with the central bank, whose independence is protected by the constitution.

Reporting by Catherine Bosley and Emma Thomasson; editing by Anna Willard

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