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Current Account Surpluses and the Interest Rate Island in Switzerland

Author

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  • Paolo Mauro

Abstract

This paper describes some long-run aspects of the Swiss balance of payments, highlighting two macroeconomic phenomena that make Switzerland stand out among other countries: first, it has had a persistent current account surplus and the largest ratio of net foreign assets to GDP in the world; second, its real interest rates have been significantly lower than those of most other industrialized countries, earning it the label “interest rate island”. These two distinctive features may be related, and ultimately both may result from an excess of national savings over investment for many years. The real interest differential may largely be attributed to a foreign exchange rate risk premium, which compensates Swiss residents for holding net assets in foreign currency and foreign residents for bearing net liabilities in Swiss francs.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Current Account Surpluses and the Interest Rate Island in Switzerland," IMF Working Papers 95/24, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:95/24
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    File URL: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=1102
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaas Knot & Jan Marc Berk, 1999. "Co-Movements in Long-Term Interest Rates and the Role of PPP-Based Exchange Rate Expectations," IMF Working Papers 99/81, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Laxton, Douglas & Prasad, Eswar, 2001. "Possible effects of European Monetary Union on Switzerland," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 531-551, July.
    3. Berk, Jan Marc & Knot, Klaas H. W., 2001. "Testing for long horizon UIP using PPP-based exchange rate expectations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 377-391, February.
    4. International Monetary Fund, 2012. "Switzerland; 2012 Article IV Consultation: Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; Statement by the Executive Director for Switzerland," IMF Staff Country Reports 12/106, International Monetary Fund.
    5. C.A. Ullersma, 2001. "The Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates and Monetary Policy Effectiveness: a Survey," MEB Series (discontinued) 2001-9, Netherlands Central Bank, Monetary and Economic Policy Department.

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