Swiss Franc Weakens As Central Bank Eliminates Negative Interest-rate Exemptions

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The Swiss franc weakened against the euro and the U.S. dollar Wednesday after the Swiss National Bank eliminated exemptions from the country's negative interest rates for public accounts, including the central bank's pension fund. Exemptions will still apply on up to 10 million francs held in the affected accounts. "In future, the only sight deposit accounts to be exempt from negative interest will be those of the central Federal Administration and the compensation funds for old age and survivors' insurance, disability insurance and the fund for loss of earned income," the central bank said in a statement. "However, the SNB will continue to monitor developments in the balances on these accounts." The Swiss National Bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to negative 1.25% at its January meeting. One euro was worth 1.0355 francs in recent trade, compared with 1.0257 Tuesday afternoon.

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