Colin Barr

Following the money in banking, economics, and Washington

The euro's Swiss miss

December 22, 2010: 12:13 PM ET

Think the dollar is pathetic? Check out the euro's plunge against Europe's flight-to-safety currency, the Swiss franc.

The euro fell to a new low against the Swiss franc Wednesday after the latest round of nerve-wracking developments in the region's laboring economic periphery. Among other things, Moody's Tuesday rolled out the latest in a long string of debt downgrade warnings, this time hitting Portugal.

Not looking promising

The latest move takes the euro down 16% against the Swiss franc, which is viewed as a strong currency because of Switzerland's solid economy -- unemployment is just 3.7%, according to the CIA Factbook -- and hard money associations.

The euro's tumble against the dollar this year has been widely noted, but that decline has been just half as steep, at 8%.

The euro fetched $1.31 and 1.25 Swiss francs Wednesday, down from $1.42 and 1.36 Swiss francs as recently as last month.

The flight to Swiss safety and the soaring costs of government borrowing point to another crisis building in Europe, which helps to explain why the Fed said Tuesday it would extend its policy of freely lending dollars to other central banks.

It's also why, the supposed profligacy of Ben Bernanke & Co. notwithstanding, many observers are expecting to see the euro fall further in coming months, in another one of the inevitable adjustments that promise to make 2011 interesting if not always pleasant.

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About This Author
Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for Fortune.com since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for TheStreet.com, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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