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Swiss govt will not alter SNB's independence

[ZURICH] Switzerland's government said it has no plans to tamper with central bank independence, after the Swiss National Bank's shock uncapping of the franc currency in January sparked a political backlash. "The federal council knows its purpose very well and that the SNB is independent," a spokesman for the Swiss government, Andre Simonazzi, told a news conference on Friday. "It will not and does not intend to touch this." A spokesman for the SNB declined to comment on the remarks.

Mr Simonazzi's comments came a day after Reuters revealed the government has decided it needs closer ties with the SNB, which stunned financial markets on Jan 15 when it ended its long-standing cap on the value of the franc against the euro.

The currency has since surged in value, stoking fears for the export-reliant economy and prompting many Swiss firms to cut hundreds of jobs in Switzerland in anticipation the strong franc will eat into export revenues.

The wide ramifications of the decision to dump the currency cap - which the central bank informed the economy minister about only 30 minutes in advance - have led some politicians and business people to call for changes to the SNB's structure.

Switzerland's government will seek to coordinate more closely with the independent central bank following the decision to drop the cap, according to a confidential policy resolution seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The country could consider a new currency cap, two government ministers wrote in a separate working paper.

Independent lawmaker Thomas Minder, who masterminded a successful referendum in 2013 to impose strict controls on Swiss executive pay, has launched a parliamentary initiative to expand the SNB's three-person governing council.

REUTERS