Money in Motion

After the Swiss Move, Your Best Currency Safe Havens

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With the Swiss franc tumbling after the central bank's intervention, you need a Plan B for a safe haven. Here's a ranking of your options.

That Swiss National Bank sure is full of surprises.

Just when you thought their intervention would fail, they showed some real muscle, and many experts think this big push could have a more lasting effect on the Swiss franc.

That's good news for Swiss corporations, but investors like you need another safe-haven currency or two in your toolkit. Luckily, Jens Nordvig, global head of G10 currency strategy at Nomura, has a list:

"We base our analysis on five major criteria: 1) macroeconomic and political stability, 2) the solidity of the country's balance sheet, 3) the size and liquidity of the domestic financial market, 4) the flexibility and convertibility of the currency, and 5) the resilience of the domestic economy to external shocks," Nordvig and his colleagues wrote in a note to clients.

Interestingly, even before the Swiss National Bank's move, the Swissie ranked only fifth, behind the dollar, the yen, the euro - which apparently gets points for liquidity - and the British pound. And Nordvig told me "that would be fair" to expect the intervention today to further dent the franc's standing.

The bottom line: when things get scary in the currency markets, you've got plenty of other places to go besides the bucolic Alps.

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Learn more: The essential vocabulary for currency trading is on Key Currency Terms. Top currency strategies are broken down for you in Currency Class.

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