Das Wallstreet Journal geht in einem ausführlichen Artikel auf die in Europa grassierenden Negativzinsen ein. Auch die Situation in der Schweiz wird beleuchtet.


Es bleibt bei unter Null. Capital Economics erwartet sogar, dass im kommenden Jahr die SNB auf –1% geht.

The negative-rate policy’s ineffectualness is a sign of just how weak Europe’s economic engines are, and how vulnerable. The policy threatens pensions, creates the risk of real-estate bubbles and doesn’t fully quell the specter of deflation. European banks struggle with weak interest income and thin margins on loans, putting them behind American peers in profitability and making it harder for them to finance the economy.

Public frustration is mounting in healthy countries such as Germany and Switzerland that don’t necessarily need negative rates, while those that do aren’t seeing much benefit. Profitless companies stay afloat, steering resources away from more efficient ones and weighing on productivity. Central banks’ inability to raise rates leaves them with little ammunition to cushion the next downturn with the conventional tool of interest-rate reductions.

In Switzerland, some individuals are putting cash into real estate, prompting fears of overbuilding. “Holding cash,” said Swiss Bankers Association chief economist Martin Hess, “is simply more expensive than building an empty house.”

The ECB’s deposit rate will stay at minus 0.4% through 2021, projects Capital Economics, a consulting firm. It expects the Swiss to cut their rate to minus 1% next year from minus 0.75%. It expects Denmark, among the first to introduce negative rates in 2012, to lower its rate to minus 1% next year. By contrast, the U.S. Federal Reserve pays American banks 2.35% interest on their excess reserves.

Central bankers can’t give up negative rates in large part because it could damp their economies further. The European Commission said it expects the eurozone’s gross domestic product to advance 1.2% this year, down from the 1.9% it said it expected six months ago and half the U.S. rate. Germany’s recovery ground to a halt late last year and improved slightly last quarter.

Even with low rates, companies are watchful on spending. Patrick Jany, chief financial officer at Swiss chemicals giant Clariant AG , said cheap money makes some investment projects appear attractive even if they aren’t. “For any company,” he said, “it’s very important not to succumb to the temptation of cheap money.”

  WSJ / Instapaper