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Latest Issue

The Swiss Release the Kraken!

January 20, 2015

“Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee….

“There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.”

– Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Kraken

"The exact contrary of what is generally believed is often the truth."

– Jean De La Bruyère

“Cry ‘Havoc!’ And let slip the dogs of war!”

– William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

“No mas!”

 – Roberto Duran to the referee at the end of his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard, 1980

If you want evidence that central bankers play by their own rules, regardless of what they say or what conventional wisdom tells us, last week’s action by the Swiss National Bank should pretty much fill the bill. My friend Anatole Kaletsky, in a CNBC interview not long after the announcement, quipped (with a completely straight face) that just as James Bond has a license to kill, central bankers have a license to lie.

Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan had assured us just the week before that the Swiss would continue to “hold the peg” whereby the SNB kept the value of the Swiss franc from rising higher than €1.22. “The cap is absolutely central,” he said. And SNB Vice Chairman Jean-Pierre Danthine said publicly only last Monday that the peg...

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