Expats in Switzerland have been hit by the Swiss National Bank’s decision to bring the franc on to level terms with the euro, seeing its value drop down by eight percent.
This is a blow for expats as they will no longer be able to make money-saving shopping trips across local borders, a popular activity amongst expatriates.
Border-hopping shopping trips have become the norm for expats in Switzerland as the exchange rates add more value to their Swiss franc wages, however these trips may soon become a thing of the past.
The decision to devalue came as the franc has recently soared due to an influx of foreign investment, leading to it becoming strongly overvalued. While expats will no doubt bemoan the move, the local tourist and retail industries will welcome the returning business.
One British expat remarked: “Those of us on local contracts, paid in francs, have been making the most of the situation because we always knew it would be short lived. Most people head into France or Germany to buy things. I tend to go back to the UK because I know it better. When I first came out here I got 2.6 francs against the pound but expect it will go back to 1.8. I appreciate that something had to be done because people were getting restless and the currency was undoubtedly overvalued but I don't think that pegging it was necessarily the right move.”