Andréa M Maechler: Return to positive interest rates - why reserve tiering?

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 Money Market Event, Geneva, 17 November 2022.

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

Central bank speech  | 
18 November 2022

Ladies and gentlemen

It is with great pleasure that my colleague Thomas Moser and I welcome you to this year's Swiss National Bank (SNB) Money Market Event in Geneva. We are very glad that so many of you have joined us this evening, be it on site or remotely.

Since we last met in this setting a year ago, fighting inflation has become the most important task for central banks worldwide. Many countries have experienced a surge in inflation, the scale and pace of which very few anticipated. A large part of this surge was due to ongoing disruptions to global supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Russia's war against Ukraine – in addition to causing immense human misery – has further contributed to inflationary pressures through its impact on energy and food prices. Over recent months, inflation has proved more persistent and become more broad-based than had initially been expected. Consequently, we have witnessed a turnaround in monetary policy at a global level as central banks have begun to tighten their policies.

The SNB, too, has tightened its monetary policy and has lifted its policy rate back into positive territory. With the transition to a positive rate environment, the SNB has had to adopt a new approach to implementing its monetary policy in the money market. Our new approach features two elements: reserve tiering, also referred to as tiered remuneration of reserves, and reserve absorption by way of open market operations. This new approach takes into account the structural changes that have occurred in the money market since we were last in a positive rate environment. In particular, under these changed conditions, the new approach allows us to pursue our objective of keeping secured short-term Swiss franc money market rates close to the SNB policy rate.