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What does the latest interest rate cut in Switzerland mean for you?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
What does the latest interest rate cut in Switzerland mean for you?
With the new SNB move, you will hopefully have more money in your pocket. Photo: Claudio Schwartz on Unsplash

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced on Thursday its second interest-rate cut of 2024. What does this mean for consumers?

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After cutting the interest rate in March 2024 — from 1.75 to 1.50 percent — Switzerland’s central bank slashed the rate by another quarter percent to bring it down to 1.25. 

Is this a good sign?

Mostly yes.

Firstly, it signals that inflation has fallen — which is definitely a positive development.
 
The SNB, did, in fact, lower its average annual inflation forecast for the rest of 2024  — to 1.3 percent, from 1.4 percent previously.

How will you be able to benefit from this move?

Much depends on whether you are planning to spend your money or save it.

If you are looking to buy big-ticket items that are usually purchased with credit — like homes or vehicles, for instance — then you are in luck.

That’s because when a central bank lowers its interest rates, loans become cheaper. So if you qualify for a loan, this is a good time to apply for one.

In terms of mortgages, they are likely to become cheaper as well when interest rates drop.

This, however, is only the case for new mortgages or ones that are due for renewal.

If you have a fixed-rate mortgage which is not up for renewal, then you will not be able to benefit from lower interest rates.

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What about rents?

With the interest rate turnaround — and given a positive forecast on the inflation front — there will probably be no further hikes in the reference interest rates that determine rents in the immediate future.

As to whether you are eligible for rent reduction, that depends on whether your rent is tied to the interest rate — as some 54 percent of contracts are in Switzerland.

If that is the case, and your costs went up when the interest rate did, you can normally seek a reduction.

Keep in mind, however, that factors other than the interest rate come into play in determining rents.

Such factors could include an increase in the cost of building maintenance or insurance, for example.

When is a lower interest rate not a good thing?

If you have money in the bank and depend on it ‘growing’ — that is, yielding profits, you are not in luck.

As the interest rate dwindle, so do returns on your assets.

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