The FRANC (sign : FR. or SFR.; German : Franken, French and Romansh :
franc, Italian : franco; code : CHF) is the currency and legal tender
The smaller denomination, a hundredth of a franc, is a Rappen (Rp.) in German, centime (c.) in French, centesimo (ct.) in Italian, and rap (rp.) in Romansh . The ISO code of the currency used by banks and financial institutions is CHF, although FR. is also widely used by businesses and advertisers; some use SFR. for Swiss Franc; the Latinate "CH" stands for Confoederatio Helvetica .
* 1 History
* 1.3.1 2011–2014: big movements and capping * 1.3.2 End of capping
* 2 Coins
* 2.1 Coins of the Helvetic Republic * 2.2 Coins of the Swiss Confederation
* 3 Banknotes * 4 Circulation * 5 Reserve currency * 6 Current exchange rates * 7 See also * 8 Notes and references * 9 Bibliography * 10 External links
BEFORE THE HELVETIC REPUBLIC
Before 1798, about 75 entities were making coins in Switzerland, including the 25 cantons and half-cantons, 16 cities, and abbeys, resulting in about 860 different coins in circulation, with different values, denominations and monetary systems.
The local Swiss currencies included the Basel thaler , Berne thaler , Fribourg gulden , Geneva thaler , Geneva genevoise , Luzern gulden , Neuchâtel gulden , St. Gallen thaler , Schwyz gulden , Solothurn thaler , Valais thaler and the Zürich thaler .
Bernese Rollbatzen, 15th century *
Zürich Taler (1768)
HELVETIC REPUBLIC TO REGENERATION 1798–1847
In 1798, the
Helvetic Republic introduced the franc, a currency based
Berne thaler , subdivided into 10 batzen or 100 centimes. The
32 Franken gold coin of the Helvetic Republic (1800)
40 Batzen coin of Vaud (1812)
This franc was issued until the end of the
Helvetic Republic in 1803,
but served as the model for the currencies of several cantons in the
Mediation period (18031814). These nineteen cantonal currencies were
Appenzell frank , Argovia frank ,
Basel frank ,
Bernese Konkordatsbatzen of 1826 1 franc coin of Vaud (1845)
After 1815, the restored Swiss Confederacy attempted to simplify the
system of currencies once again. As of 1820, a total number of 8,000
distinct coins were current in Switzerland, issued by cantons, cities,
abbeys and principalities or lordships, mixed with surviving coins of
Helvetic Republic and the pre-1798 Helvetic Republic. In 1825, the
cantons of Berne, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Aargau and Vaud formed a
monetary concordate, issuing standardised coins, the so-called
Konkordanzbatzen, still carrying the coat of arms of the issuing
canton but interchangeable and identical in value. The reverse side of
the coin displayed a
FRANC OF THE SWISS CONFEDERATION, 1850–PRESENT
Although 22 cantons and half-cantons issued coins between 1803 and
1850, less than 15% of the money in circulation in
In order to solve this problem, the new Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 specified that the federal government would be the only entity allowed to make money in Switzerland. This was followed two years later by the first Federal Coinage Act, passed by the Federal Assembly on 7 May 1850, which introduced the franc as the monetary unit of Switzerland. The franc was introduced at par with the French franc . It replaced the different currencies of the Swiss cantons , some of which had been using a franc (divided into 10 batzen and 100 centimes) which was worth 1 1⁄2 French francs . Exchange rates with the euro and US dollar, 2003-2006
2011–2014: Big Movements And Capping
In March 2011 the franc climbed past the US$1.10 mark (CHF 0.91 per
U.S. dollar ). In June 2011 the franc climbed past US$1.20 (CHF 0.833
U.S. dollar ) as investors sought safety amidst the continuation
of the Greek sovereign-debt crisis. Continuation of the same crisis
in Europe and the debt crisis in the U.S. propelled the Swiss franc
past US$1.30 (CHF 0.769 per
U.S. dollar ) as of August 2011, prompting
Swiss National Bank
On 6 September 2011, when the exchange rate was 1.095 CHF/ € and appeared to be heading for parity with the euro , the SNB set a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 francs to the euro (capping franc's appreciation) saying "the value of the franc is a threat to the economy", and that it was "prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities". In response to the announcement the franc fell against the euro, to 1.22 francs from 1.12 francs and lost 9% against the U.S. dollar within fifteen minutes. The intervention stunned currency traders since the franc had long been regarded as a safe haven.
The franc fell 8.8% against the euro, 9.5% against the dollar, and at least 8.2% against all 16 of the most active currencies on the day of the announcement. It was the largest plunge of the franc ever against the euro. The SNB had previously set an exchange rate target in 1978 against the Deutsche mark and maintained it, although at the cost of high inflation. Until mid-January 2015, the franc continued to trade below the target level set by the SNB, though the ceiling was broken at least once on 5 April 2012, albeit briefly.
End Of Capping
On 18 December 2014, the Swiss central bank introduced a negative
interest rate on bank deposits to support its CHF ceiling. However,
with the euro declining in value over the following weeks, in a move
dubbed Francogeddon for its effect on markets, the Swiss National
Bank abandoned the ceiling on 15 January 2015, and the franc promptly
increased in value compared with the euro by 30%, although this only
lasted a few minutes before part of the increase was reversed. The
move was not announced in advance and resulted in "turmoil" in stock
and currency markets. By the close of trading that day, the franc was
up 23% against the euro and 21% against the US dollar. The full daily
range of franc was equal to $31,000 per single futures contract (to
the positive if long, to the negative if short), and is more than the
market moved collectively in the previous thousand days. The key
interest rate was also lowered from −0.25% to −0.75%, meaning
investors would be paying an increased fee to keep their funds in a
Swiss bank account. This devaluation of the euro against the franc is
expected to hurt Switzerland's large export industry. The Swatch Group
, for example, saw its shares drop 15% (in
The large and unexpected jump caused major losses for some currency
Alpari , a Russian-owned spread betting firm established in
the UK, temporarily declared insolvency before announcing its desire
to be acquired (and later denied rumours of an acquisition) by FXCM.
FXCM was bailed out by its parent company.
Saxo Bank of Denmark
reported losses on 19 January 2015.
Media questioned the ongoing credibility of the Swiss central bank,
and indeed central banks in general. Using phrases like
"extend-and-pretend" to describe central bank exchange rate control
Saxobank chief economist Steen Jakobsen stated "as a group,
central banks have lost credibility and when the ECB starts QE this
week, the beginning of the end for central banks will be well under
way". BT Investment Management 's head of income and fixed interest,
Vimal Gor stated "central banks are becoming more and more impotent.
It also ultimately proves that central banks cannot drive economic
growth like they think they can".
Main article: Coins of the Swiss franc
COINS OF THE HELVETIC REPUBLIC
16 francs, Helvetic Republic, 1800, gold
Between 1798 and 1803, billon coins were issued in denominations of 1
centime, 1⁄2 batzen, and 1 batzen.
COINS OF THE SWISS CONFEDERATION
In 1850, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and
20 centimes and 1⁄2, 1, 2, and 5 francs, with the 1 and 2
centimes struck in bronze, the 5, 10, and 20 centimes in billon (with
5% to 15% silver content), and the franc denominations in .900 fine
silver. Between 1860 and 1863, .800 fine silver was used, before the
standard used in
Both world wars only had a small effect on the Swiss coinage, with brass and zinc coins temporarily being issued. In 1931, the size of the 5-franc coin was reduced from 25 grams to 15, with the silver content reduced to .835 fineness. The next year, nickel replaced cupro-nickel in the 5 and 10 centimes.
In the late 1960s the prices of internationally traded commodities rose significantly. A silver coin's metal value exceeded its monetary value, and many were being sent abroad for melting, which prompted the federal government to make this practice illegal. The statute was of little effect, and the melting of francs only subsided when the collectible value of the remaining francs again exceeded their material value.
The 1-centime coin was still produced until 2006, albeit in ever decreasing quantities, but its importance declined. Those who could justify the use of 1-centime coins for monetary purposes could obtain them at face value; any other user (such as collectors) had to pay an additional four centimes per coin to cover the production costs, which had exceeded the actual face value of the coin for many years. The coin fell into disuse in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but was only officially fully withdrawn from circulation and declared to be no longer legal tender on 1 January 2007. The long-forgotten 2-centime coin, not minted since 1974, was demonetized on 1 January 1978. 5 Swiss francs 1889
The designs of the coins have changed very little since 1879. Among
the notable changes were new designs for the 5 franc coins in 1888,
1922, 1924 (minor) and 1931 (mostly just a size reduction). A new
design for the bronze coins was used from 1948. Coins depicting a ring
of stars (such as the 1 franc coin seen beside this paragraph) were
altered from 22 stars to 23 stars in 1983; since the stars represent
the Swiss cantons, the design was updated when in 1979 Jura seceded
Canton of Bern and became the 23rd canton of the Swiss
The 10-centime coins from 1879 onwards (except the years 1918–19 and 1932–39) have had the same composition, size and design until 2014 and are still legal tender and found in circulation. Play media 3D animation of the surface of a 1⁄2-franc coin.
All Swiss coins are language-neutral with respect to Switzerland's four national languages, featuring only numerals, the abbreviation "Fr." for franc, and the Latin phrases Helvetia or Confœderatio Helvetica (depending on the denomination) or the inscription Libertas (Roman goddess of liberty) on the small coins. The name of the artist is present on the coins with the standing Helvetia and the herder.
In addition to these general circulation coins, numerous series of commemorative coins have been issued, as well as silver and gold coins. These coins are no longer legal tender, but can in theory be exchanged at face value at post offices, and at national and cantonal banks, although their metal or collectors' value equals or exceeds their face value.
Overview of current Swiss coins VALUE Diameter (mm) Thickness (mm) Weight (g) COMPOSITION REMARKS
20 centimes 21.05 1.65 4 Cupronickel
1⁄2 franc (50 centimes) 18.20 1.25 2.2 Cupronickel In silver until 1967
1 franc 23.20 1.55 4.4 Cupronickel In silver until 1967
2 francs 27.40 2.15 8.8 Cupronickel In silver until 1967
5 francs 31.45 2.35 13.2 Cupronickel In silver until 1967 and in 1969; 25 g weight until 1930
Main article: Banknotes of the Swiss franc Schweizerische Nationalbank (Swiss National Bank), 5 francs (1914). The portrait depicts William Tell (based on Richard Kissling ’s monument in Altdorf ), with the Rütli Mountain in the distance.
In 1907, the
Swiss National Bank
Eight series of banknotes have been printed by the national bank, six of which have been released for use by the general public. The sixth series from 1976, designed by Ernst and Ursula Hiestand (de), depicted persons from the world of science . It has been recalled and replaced and will lose any value on 1 May 2020. As of 2010, a large number of notes from this series have not yet been exchanged, even though they have not been legal tender for more than 10 years; for example, the value of those 500-franc banknotes still in circulation represents 129.9 million Swiss francs.
The seventh series was printed in 1984, but kept as a "reserve
series", ready to be used if, for example, wide counterfeiting of the
current series suddenly happened. When the
Swiss National Bank
The current, eighth series of banknotes was designed by Jörg Zintzmeyer (de) around the theme of the arts and released starting in 1995. In addition to its new vertical design, this series was different from the previous one on several counts. Probably the most important difference from a practical point of view was that the seldom-used 500-franc note was replaced by a new 200-franc note; this new note has indeed proved more successful than the old 500-franc note. The base colours of the new notes were kept similar to the old ones, except that the 20-franc note was changed from blue to red to prevent a frequent confusion with the 100-franc note, and that the 10-franc note was changed from red to yellow. The size of the notes was changed as well, with all notes from the eighth series having the same height (74 mm), while the widths were changed as well, still increasing with the value of the notes. The new series contains many more security features than the previous one; many of them are now visibly displayed and have been widely advertised, in contrast with the previous series for which most of the features were kept secret.
Eighth (current) series of Swiss banknotes IMAGE VALUE DIMENSIONS MAIN COLOUR OBVERSE DATE OF ISSUE REMARKS
10 francs 126 × 74 mm Yellow Le Corbusier 8 April 1997
20 francs 137 × 74 mm Red Arthur Honegger 1 October 1996
50 francs 148 × 74 mm Green Sophie Taeuber-Arp 3 October 1995
100 francs 159 × 74 mm Blue Alberto Giacometti 1 October 1998
200 francs 170 × 74 mm Brown Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz 1 October 1997 Replaces the 500-franc banknote in the previous series
181 × 74 mm
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimeter. For table standards, see the banknote specification table .
All banknotes are quadrilingual, displaying all information in the four national languages. The banknotes depicting a Germanophone person have German and Romansch on the same side as the picture, whereas banknotes depicting a Francophone or an Italophone person have French and Italian on the same side as the picture. The reverse has the other two languages.
When the fifth series lost its validity at the end of April 2000, the banknotes that had not been exchanged represented a total value of 244.3 million Swiss francs; in accordance with Swiss law, this amount was transferred to the Swiss Fund for Emergency Losses in the Case of Non-insurable Natural Disasters.
* Ninth series of the Swiss franc
CHF 20, front *
CHF 20, back *
CHF 50, front *
CHF 50, back
In February 2005, a competition was announced for the design of the
ninth series, planned to be released around 2010 on the theme
As of March 2010, the total value of released Swiss coins and banknotes was 49.6640 billion Swiss francs.
Value of Swiss coins and banknotes in circulation as of March 2010 (in millions of CHF) COINS 10 FRANCS 20 FRANCS 50 FRANCS 100 FRANCS 200 FRANCS 500 FRANCS 1000 FRANCS TOTAL
2,695.4 656.7 1,416.7 1,963.0 8,337.4 6,828.0 129.9 27,637.1 49,664.0
Combinations of up to 100 circulating Swiss coins (not including special or commemorative coins) are legal tender; banknotes are legal tender for any amount.
Main article: Reserve currency
Currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves
* v * t * e
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
US DOLLAR 71.0% 70.5% 70.7% 66.5% 65.8% 66.0% 66.4% 65.7% 64.1% 64.1% 62.1% 61.8% 62.3% 61.1% 61.0% 63.1% 64.0% 64.0%
EURO 17.9% 18.8% 19.8% 24.2% 25.3% 24.9% 24.3% 25.2% 26.3% 26.4% 27.6% 26.0% 24.7% 24.3% 24.4% 22.1% 20.3% 19.7%
POUND STERLING 2.9% 2.8% 2.7% 2.9% 2.6% 3.2% 3.6% 4.2% 4.7% 4.0% 4.3% 3.9% 3.8% 4.0% 4.0% 3.8% 4.7% 4.4%
JAPANESE YEN 6.4% 6.3% 5.2% 4.5% 4.1% 3.8% 3.7% 3.2% 2.9% 3.1% 2.9% 3.7% 3.6% 4.1% 3.8% 3.9% 3.8% 4.2%
1.5% 1.8% 1.9% 1.9% 2.0%
1.5% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8%
SWISS FRANC 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2%
OTHER 1.6% 1.4% 1.2% 1.4% 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% 1.5% 1.8% 2.2% 3.1% 4.4% 5.4% 3.3% 2.9% 3.2% 3.2% 2.5%
CURRENT EXCHANGE RATES
CURRENT CHF EXCHANGE RATES
From Google Finance: AUD CAD EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR
From Yahoo! Finance: AUD CAD EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR
From XE: AUD CAD EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR
From OANDA: AUD CAD EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR
From fxtop.com: AUD CAD EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR
* Banking in
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ "Swiss queue round the block to change currency as
London Evening Standard . 16 January
2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
* ^ A B "