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Markets

Swiss franc falls against euro on debt moves

ZURICH: The Swiss franc fell against the euro and the dollar on Thursday as hopes grew Europe was taking concrete steps

swiss-francZURICH: The Swiss franc fell against the euro and the dollar on Thursday as hopes grew Europe was taking concrete steps to shore up the region's debt crisis, boosting risk appetite for now.

The franc fell 0.2 percent against the euro to trade at 1.2366 by 0735 GMT compared to the New York close. Against the dollar, the franc dipped 0.2 percent to trade at 0.8966.

Investors running scared from the euro zone debt crisis flocked into the safe-haven franc earlier this year, sending the currency to record highs and prompting the Swiss National Bank to impose a cap of 1.20 francs to the euro to stem further gains.

Since then the franc has so far failed to breach the 1.20 floor and slid to a 4-1/2-month low of 1.2434 francs on Monday, as speculation grew the SNB could impose a new cap of 1.25 francs to the euro.

But the franc has started to inch higher again as the SNB has so far held off from taking renewed action and speculation it could impose a new cap has started to wane, said Ursina Kubli, analyst at Sarasin.

Faltering economic growth could also push the franc higher, even if the European governments agree measures to contain the region's debt crisis, she added.

"If we really have a solution that establishes confidence that the euro crisis will resolve, then the Swiss franc will weaken, but in an environment where economic growth is deteriorating ... we expect the euro-Swiss franc to trend lower," Kubli said.

Swiss producer and import price data due at 0715 GMT will give clues as to how much room the SNB has to weaken the franc further.

Some commentators have expressed concern pumping huge quantities of the currency into the economy, either through liquidity measures or currency buying, could stoke inflation.

However, a sharp decline in prices will reinforce the SNB's view that the soaring currency is exacerbating downside price pressures.

Copyright Reuters, 2011