Fritz Zurbrügg: Introductory remarks, Swiss National Bank news conference

Introductory remarks by Mr Fritz Zurbrügg, Vice Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, at the Media News Conference of the Swiss National Bank, Zurich, 17 December 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
17 December 2020

In my remarks today, I will begin with the developments in the Swiss banking sector environment. I will then provide an assessment of the current situation at the two globally active big banks, Credit Suisse and UBS, as well as at the domestically focused banks. Finally, I will talk about the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the use of cash.

Banking sector environment

Economic conditions for the Swiss banking sector continue to be difficult. As already mentioned by my colleague Thomas Jordan, while global GDP has recovered somewhat since the downturn in the second quarter, in most countries economic activity remains well below its year-back level. As a result, credit risks in particular have increased worldwide, with ratings of corporate bonds deteriorating significantly over the course of the year.

In comparison with the real economy, the situation on the global financial markets has eased considerably more since the spring. Risk premia on corporate bonds rose markedly after the outbreak of the pandemic, but have since largely declined again. Stock prices have also recovered from their downturn in February and March.