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FRANC

Euro drops below 1.20 Swiss franc floor

The euro on Thursday dipped briefly below the 1.20 Swiss franc floor imposed by Switzerland's central bank to curb the soaring local currency.

The euro fell to 1.1997 francs at around 11.45am before shortly recovering to trade back above the threshold again at 1.2019 francs.

A spokesman for the Swiss National Bank declined to comment to AFP whether the bank had intervened.

Since imposing the limit last year, the central bank has consistently said it would defend the level with the “utmost determination,” and pledged to buy unlimited amounts of euros to keep the 1.20 francs minimum.

Investors unsettled by the eurozone debt crisis and uncertain US economic prospects have flocked to a perceived safe haven in Switzerland, driving up the value of the franc to the detriment of Swiss exporters.

The Swiss currency gained 11 percent against the euro and 15 percent against the dollar between January and September 5, 2011, when the SNB intervened decisively on foreign exchange markets to stem its rise.

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BANK

Swiss National Bank hit by new spray paint attack

A woman activist spray painted a message on a billboard outside Switzerland’s central bank on Friday in an echo of a similar protest last year in which an 86-year-old woman was arrested.

Swiss National Bank hit by new spray paint attack
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The incident occurred as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) held its annual general meeting in Bern, the Blick newspaper reported.

An unidentified woman sprayed the message 'please remember why we founded you' on the billboard in red paint.

According to the paper, the protestor was campaigning in support of the campaign for monetary reform, which goes to a nationwide vote in June.

READ ALSO: Why the Swiss National Bank needs more gold

Known as the Vollgeld Initiative in German and the Initiative Monnaie Pleine in French, the initiative calls an end to traditional bank lending and for the SNB to be the only financial institution able to issue money. 

The SNB opposes the sovereign money initiative.

With the help of other activists, the spray painter removed the words a short time later.

Almost exactly one year ago an 86-year-old woman was arrested after spraying an anti-war message outside the SNB in a case that drew worldwide attention.

READ ALSO: Woman, 86, arrested for spraying anti-war graffiti on Swiss National Bank

The peace activist spray-painted ‘Money for weapons kills' on the billboard. 

She was campaigning on behalf of the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSsA) which had launched a popular initiative to ban Swiss financing of any company that produces arms. 

If it gathers the required 100,000 signatures by October 2018, the issue will go to a national referendum.