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Swiss trade union calls for central bank to weaken franc

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Switzerland's largest union on Friday urged the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to weaken Switzerland's currency to support the export-reliant country's economy.

[ZURICH] Switzerland's largest union on Friday urged the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to weaken Switzerland's currency to support the export-reliant country's economy.

Switzerland's central bank abandoned a cap on the franc of 1.20 per euro on Jan 15, stoking fears of a recession and prompting some businesses to cut pay and jobs, since a stronger franc makes Swiss exports more expensive.

The Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB) called for the central bank to introduce measures that would weaken the franc and help to protect Swiss salaries and jobs.

"The most effective instrument is an explicit currency cap or target price - supplemented if required through negative interest rates or limiting the trading of the franc if need be," the SGB said in a statement.

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A spokesman for the central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The SNB has already introduced negative interest rates for some banks.

On Sunday, a Swiss newspaper reported the SNB is unofficially targeting an exchange rate of 1.05-1.10 francs per euro. The central bank declined to comment on the story at the time.

Berne-based SGB also called for the Swiss government to make it illegal for Swiss employers to pay staff in euros, which some businesses have begun offering as an option to employees who commute to work from the eurozone.

The euro has weakened more than 10 percent against the franc since the currency cap was ended.

REUTERS

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