Switzerland is considered a stable, conservative country that is beautiful, but sometimes a bit boring. The preference of its policy makers and the public for safety, order and predictability has made the country a haven in many respects, not least as an economic bolt hole where investors and savers can go to safeguard their savings and their investments. The swiss franc is one of the world’s reserve currencies.

Switzerland was anything but boring or predictable last week, when the Swiss National Bank (SNB, the country’s central bank) abandoned its efforts to cap the rise in the value of the franc, and let the currency adjust to market levels. That decision prompted an immediate 20 percent rise in the value of the franc, a historic adjustment for any reserve currency, and triggered turmoil in international markets. The surprise move will have important repercussions for Switzerland, Europe and the global economy. None of them are especially good.

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