The SNB’s role in financing oil, gas, and coal projects
The European Investment Bank has agreed to end its financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021 calling it a “quantum leap.” The Swiss National Bank takes another approach, as economist and energy expert Cornelia Meyer explains. In her view, it is not the SNB’s job to take stewardship over the environment nor is it within its mandate.
Swiss company taps into U.S. appetite for risk
Quotient, a Swiss company specializing in lab-in-a-chip technology, raised USD 90 million in a Nasdaq-listed share sale this month, bringing its market value to about USD 650 million. Cashing in on growing demand for blood tests as it prepares to go to market, the company “needed to have access to deep pockets of capital,” CEO Franz Walt says.
Calling time on negative interest rates
Swiss consumers have weathered the negative interest rate environment with some resilience, but for how long remains to be seen, says Esty Dwek, head of global market strategy at Natixis Investment Managers. She calls for rates to move back to zero, although such a move by the Swiss National Bank would not happen before a tightening by the ECB—and unlikely for the time being.
Surprise growth from Switzerland’s biggest trading partner
Germany avoided a recession in the third quarter, even growing 0.1 percent, but it’s still too early for Switzerland to celebrate. The danger of a downturn hasn’t disappeared, says Frank Häusler, chief strategist at Vontobel Asset Management. For Switzerland, it’s of “paramount importance” that Germany’s manufacturing slump does not spill over into the larger services sector in the months to come.
Why it’s time to hitch a ride with “fellow travelers” gold and crypto
Gold-backed cryptocurrencies have been making a comeback, with more companies and government mints launching digital tokens backed by the precious metal. Gold investor John Hathaway says the move will make the commodity more transactional than it is today, and also explains why the precious metal and crypto make good “fellow travelers.”
Alibaba heads for Hong Kong to court mainland Chinese investors
Online retailer Alibaba plans to raise about USD 13 billion through a share sale in Hong Kong this month, giving the Asian financial capital a vote of confidence after months of sometimes violent protests. Catherine Yeung, investment director of equities at Fidelity International, said the listing will also give mainland investors access to China’s most valuable company by market capitalization.
Where does Europe stand in U.S.-China rivalry?
The Cold War is over, but Europe is once again caught between two superpowers, says Lars Kalbreier, chief investment officer at Vontobel Wealth Management. Europe needs to “grow up” and “emancipate itself” by defining its own international agenda and “perhaps a military policy as well,” he says.
Schmolz + Bickenbach CEO warns of lack of visibility ahead
Swiss steelmaker Schmolz + Bickenbach announced a drastic downgrade for the company amid troubled times. CEO Clemens Iller warned of a lack of visibility on orders for the months ahead as the trade conflict continues to weigh on the automotive sector.
Citi’s bullish outlook for Swiss stocks
The European economy is recovering thanks to support from the ECB, which has made investments into stocks with high dividend yields even more attractive. Jeffrey Sacks, head of EMEA investment strategy at Citi Private Bank, sees high single digit returns for Switzerland and Europe moving forward.
Bitcoin Suisse, Worldline aim to make crypto payments a shopping reality
Bitcoin Suisse is teaming up with European payments provider Worldline Global to roll out cryptocurrency payment services online and in stores across Switzerland. Marc Schluep, CEO of Worldline Switzerland, and Armin Schmid, Bitcoin Suisse’s head of crypto payments, said Switzerland will act as a test case before expanding to other European countries.
Former IMF chief economist expects downward revision to 2020 forecast
The International Monetary Fund sees global growth picking up to 3.4 percent in 2020, thanks largely to a better economic performance from developing countries including Brazil, India and Russia. That forecast looks too rosy to Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF’s former chief economist who is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He questions the strength of an emerging market bounce-back next year.
First Powell, now Lagarde: Central banks say goodbye to superwonks
Christine Lagarde’s first task as the new European Central Bank president may be to prove she has the know-how for the job despite lacking an education in monetary policy. “She may not be a technical economist, but what’s even more important in a central bank decision-maker is judgment,” says Adam Tooze, professor of history at Columbia University and director of the European Institute. “She has shown that she has that judgement.” Whether Europe’s central banks will get in line behind her is the question, he says.
Hammond: UK relationship with Switzerland will strengthen post-Brexit
British relations with Switzerland will be more important than ever after its departure from the European Union, the UK’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond tells CNNMoney Switzerland. Speaking at the SIFF conference in Zurich, he said the UK had learned a thing or two about negotiation from the Swiss in the past.
Finding the right equation in clean energy transition
Combining renewables with battery power offers a more viable solution than nuclear in the transition away from fossil fuels, argues Alastair Bishop, portfolio Manager, sustainable energy fund at BlackRock. The cost of new nuclear facilities, he adds, “are not competitive with building renewable energy alternatives.