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Swiss Central Bank Move 'Huge Mistake': Jim Rogers

The Swiss central bank's decision to set a limit on how much the Swiss franc can appreciate against the euro is "a huge mistake," investor Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC.com on Wednesday.

Jim Rogers during a visit to Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Rogers says he's long Chinese stocks and the currency even though he thinks the property sector may be in a bubble.
Chinafotopress | Getty Images
Jim Rogers during a visit to Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. Rogers says he's long Chinese stocks and the currency even though he thinks the property sector may be in a bubble.

On Tuesday, the Swiss National Bank set a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs for the euro, pledging to buy other currencies in unlimited amounts to defend the target.

Analysts said this was an endurance contest by which the SNB wanted to take the shine off the Swiss franc's safe haven status, in a move that roiled markets.

The move "will work for a while, but the market will have more money in the end than the SNB," Rogers, who was the co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros, told CNBC.com.

The Swiss central bank risks losing "a lot of money buying up lots of foreign currencies which they will eventually sell at a loss," he explained.

Another risk is that the central bank will "totally debase the Swiss franc trying to keep Switzerland 'competitive' which will then destroy the traditional Swiss financial industry," Rogers said.

"So this is a huge mistake for Switzerland since they are going to suffer more either way," he added.

After the Swiss central bank's move on Tuesday, the dollar and the euro appreciated sharply versus the franc and analysts have started to look for the next safe-haven currency.

"RMB [Chinese yuan] is best," Rogers said, adding that the US dollar is "probably good in the short term, but the absolute worst over the long term."

Rogers has often criticized the Federal Reserve for weakening the dollar by printing money to boost growth following the financial crisis.

Investors have been looking for ways to get into the Chinese yuan, as some analysts predict that China will overtake the US to be the world's top economy in a few decades. The yuan is still not fully convertible although China has taken small steps towards liberalizing its currency.

"There are various ways to get RMB exposure outside China," Rogers said, adding that investors can now open bank accounts in renminbi in various cities like New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore and others and can buy renminbi-denominated bonds in the international markets.

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