Moscow… Or Geneva?
A month ago, when the Russian Ruble was crashing, developed nations were delighted to poke fun of Russians who lined up in front of currency exchange kiosks, supposedly to convert their rapidly devaluing Rubles into Dollars or other rising fiat.
Today, those same developed nation hecklers are deathly silent after what may be the biggest western central bank faux pas in recent history, and which in addition to sending the Swiss Franc soaring has – perhaps for the first time in history – manifested in lines of people in front of currency exchange bureaus nowhere else, but in that bastion of capitalism: Geneva.
What’s going on? AFP explains:
“It’s like Christmas all over again!” enthused Vanessa, as she joined a swelling queue outside a currency exchange office in downtown Geneva Thursday.
The 28-year-old hospital orderly was one of many across Switzerland rushing to cash in on a soaring Swiss franc.
Minutes after a shock announcement from the Swiss central bank that it was abandoning the minimum rate of 1.20 francs against the euro, the safe haven Swiss currency strengthened almost 30 percent to 0.8517 against the common European currency before easing back to 1.0421.
“I heard the news this morning. I’m so happy!” Vanessa, who refused to give her last name, told AFP outside of one of many mobbed exchange offices in Geneva.
She has reason to be extatic: she is one of some 280,000 people working in Switzerland but living and paying bills in eurozone countries France, Germany or Italy.