© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A picture illustration shows U.S. 100-dollar bank notes taken in Tokyo August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao/File Photo
By Joice Alves
London (Reuters) – The Swiss franc fell and the Norwegian crown rose on Thursday after the Swiss National Bank kept its ultra-low interest rates unchanged while the Norges Bank raised its benchmark rate.
On a busy day for central banks, euro and sterling edged higher ahead of Bank of England and European Central Bank monetary policy meetings, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled its tightening plans.
The SNB kept its key rate at -0.75%, while the Norges Bank raised its benchmark interest rate to 0.50% and said more hikes will likely follow next year.
The Swiss franc fell 0.15 versus the euro at 1.0453 at 1100 GMT, not far from its highest level since July 2015, while the Norwegian crown rose 0.3% versus the dollar to 8.96 crowns.
“Despite Omicron, Norges Bank has carried on as planned with a 25 basis point rate hike”, ING strategists said. “That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, partly because policymakers had signalled the move fairly explicitly over recent weeks”.
In London morning trading, investors awaited the outcome of the Bank of England meeting at 1200 GMT and the European Central Bank at 1245 GMT.
“The BOE and ECB are still to come. UK rate-guidance has been frenetic and unreliable, but currently hints at waiting for February,” said Kit Juckes, head of FX strategy at Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) in London.
“The ECB may play with bond-buying acronyms but will keep buying regardless and won’t talk about rate hikes at all”.
Sterling rose 0.15% on the day versus the dollar to $1.3282, while the euro was flat versus the greenback at $1.12950.
Against a basket of currencies the dollar slipped 0.1% to 96.292, after hitting a three-week high in the previous day, as the Fed said it will end its pandemic-era bond buying in March and pave the way for an expected three interest rate hikes in 2022..
The Swedish crown rose 0.5% versus the U.S. dollar at 9.07 as data showed unemployment in the country fell to 7.5% in November.