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The banking sector and the Swiss financial account during the financial and European debt crises

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  • Raphael Anton Auer
  • Cédric Tille

Abstract

The US financial crisis and the later eurozone crisis have substantially impacted capital flows into and out of financial centers like Switzerland. We focus on the pattern of capital flows involving the Swiss banking industry. We first rely on balance-of-payment statistics and show that net banking inflows rose during the acute phases of the crises, albeit with a contrasting pattern. In the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, net inflows were driven by a substantial retrenchment into the domestic market by Swiss banks. By contrast, net inflows from mid-2011 to mid-2012 were driven by large flows into Switzerland by foreign banks. We then use more detailed data from Swiss banking statistics which allow us to differentiate the situation across different banks and currencies. We show that, during the US financial crisis, the bank flows cycle was driven strongly by exposures in US dollars, and to a large extent by Swiss-owned banks. During the eurozone crisis, by contrast, the flight to the Swiss franc and move away from the euro was also driven by banks that are located in Switzerland, yet are foreign-owned. In addition, while the demand for the Swiss franc was driven by both foreign and domestic customers from mid-2011 to early 2013, domestic demand took a prominent role thereafter.

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Anton Auer & Cédric Tille, 2016. "The banking sector and the Swiss financial account during the financial and European debt crises," Working Papers 2016-05, Swiss National Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2016-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bénétrix, Agustin S. & Lane, Philip R. & Shambaugh, Jay C., 2015. "International currency exposures, valuation effects and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 98-109.
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    3. Ralph De Haas & Neeltje Van Horen, 2013. "Running for the Exit? International Bank Lending During a Financial Crisis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(1), pages 244-285.
    4. Pınar Yeşin, 2015. "Capital Flow Waves to and from Switzerland before and after the Financial Crisis," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 151(I), pages 27-75, March.
    5. Raphael A. Auer, 2014. "What drives TARGET2 balances? Evidence from a panel analysis," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 29(77), pages 139-197, January.
    6. Philip Lane, 2013. "Financial Globalisation and the Crisis," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 555-580, July.
    7. Forbes, Kristin J. & Warnock, Francis E., 2012. "Capital flow waves: Surges, stops, flight, and retrenchment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 235-251.
    8. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2014. "Dilemma Not Trilemma? Capital Controls and Exchange Rates with Volatile Capital Flows," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 62(4), pages 569-605, November.
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    10. Linda S. Goldberg, 2013. "Banking Globalization, Transmission, and Monetary Policy Autonomy," NBER Working Papers 19497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Thomas Nitschka, 2016. "Risk premia on Swiss government bonds and sectoral stock indexes during international crises:," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 67(02), pages 51-67, August.
    12. Adrien Alvero & Andreas M. Fischer, 2016. "Exchange rate floor and central bank balance sheets: Simple spillover tests of the Swiss franc," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 67(02), pages 31-50, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Raphael Auer & Ariel Burstein & Sarah M Lein, 2018. "Exchange rates and prices: evidence from the 2015 Swiss franc appreciation," BIS Working Papers 751, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. Reto Föllmi & Angela Fuest & Philipp an de Meulen & Martin Micheli & Torsten Schmidt & Lina Zwick, 2018. "Openness and productivity of the Swiss economy," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 154(1), pages 1-21, December.
    3. repec:usg:auswrt:2018:69:01:1-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Agustín S. Bénétrix & Philip R. Lane, "undated". "Cross-Country Exposures to the Swiss Franc," Trinity Economics Papers tep0116, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital flows; safe haven; Switzerland; financial globalization; international banking.;

    JEL classification:

    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F65 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Finance

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