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The puzzle of the Swiss interest rate island : stylized facts and a new interpretation

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  • Kugler, Peter
  • Weder, Beatrice

Abstract

This paper contributes to the debate about the puzzle of the Swiss Interest Rate Island. It starts out by establishing some stylized facts about the nature of the puzzle. First it shows that long run real returns on Swiss Euro Deposits have been significantly lower than in any other major currency. A decomposition of return differentials into deviations from uncovered interest rate parity and deviations from purchasing power parity reveals that the former contributes most to the puzzle. Two implications follow from these stylized facts: (i) since the puzzle is present in Euro Deposit rates it cannot be due to local factors such as banking secrecy, and (ii) solutions to the puzzle have to provide an explanation for a long run failure of uncovered interest rate parity rather than for real appreciation. Historical evidence is presented that suggests the puzzle may be attributed to a reverse peso problem. The paper discusses the consequences of this interpretation for Swiss monetary and exchange rate policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kugler, Peter & Weder, Beatrice, 2002. "The puzzle of the Swiss interest rate island : stylized facts and a new interpretation," HWWA Discussion Papers 168, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwadp:26190
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1994. "The Specie Standard as a Contingent Rule: Some Evidence for Core and Peripheral Countries, 1880-1990," NBER Working Papers 4860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kugler, Peter, 2000. "The expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates, open interest rate parity and central bank policy reaction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 209-214, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars P. Feld & Ekkehard A. Köhler, 2015. "Is Switzerland an Interest Rate Island after all? Time Series and Non-Linear Switching Regime Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 5628, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Ernst Baltensperger & Peter Kugler, 2016. "The historical origins of the safe haven status 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 1-30, August.
    3. Kugler, Peter & Weder, Beatrice, 2009. "The Demise of the Swiss Interest Rate Puzzle," Working papers 2009/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    4. Peter Kugler & Beatrice Weder, 2004. "International Portfolio Holdings and Swiss Franc Asset Returns," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 140(III), pages 301-325, September.
    5. Christoph Sax, 2006. "Interest Rates and Exchange Rate Movements: Analyzing Short-term Investments in Long-term Bonds," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 20(2), pages 205-220, June.
    6. Mathias Hoffmann & Rahel Suter, 2010. "The Swiss Franc Exchange Rate and Deviations from Uncovered Interest Parity: Global vs Domestic Factors," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(I), pages 349-371, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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