Andréa M Maechler: Covid-19, financial markets and digital transformation

Speech by Ms Andréa M Maechler, Member of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, and Mr Thomas Moser, Alternate Member of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, at the Virtual Money Market Event, webcast, 15 April 2021.

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

Central bank speech  | 
15 April 2021

Ladies and gentlemen – good afternoon.

My colleague Thomas Moser and I welcome you to the SNB's Money Market Event. A year ago, we had to cancel this event in Zurich at short notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions still prevent face-to-face gatherings, but we are delighted to be able to greet you this year in a virtual setup.

The pandemic has affected us all, but the costs are unevenly distributed. The economic costs are being borne disproportionately by the services sector and society's most vulnerable groups. The ability to work from home is highly correlated to income, so the risk of income loss or job loss has been much higher among lower-income groups.

In many ways, the crisis is unprecedented. The economic shock has been global and massive, affecting both economic supply and demand simultaneously. For policymakers this has created enormous challenges, as it has for firms, which have had to adjust almost overnight. Technology – the internet in particular – has proved indispensable for remote working, commerce and education. Digital laggards have had to invest in appropriate technologies,such as video conferencing, and accelerate the digitalisation of their customer interfaces and supply chains. Because of this significant investment, remote work and e-commerce will probably remain more common after the COVID-19 crisis ends.