Monday, 23 February 2015

CHF Swiss Franc Appreciation & Impact to Watch Lovers

Will the independent brands feel the brunt a bit more for this? Well, maybe some more than others...
for those that don't move(sell) so easily, retailers may not want to hold too much stock pending assessments
of what they have to pay to restock from all the other more mainstream brands they carry
Why did the Swiss National Bank(SNB) take away the CHF1.20 : 1 EUR currency peg on 15 Jan 15 which it had in place since 2011(when financial markets were in turmoil and folks were buying up CHF as a safe currency and they didn't want it to skyrocket)? 

The SNB had been printing a lot of CHF and buying up EUR to hold the peg and the trigger was a potential further depreciation of the EUR due to suspected Quantitative Easing('QE') by the Eurozone. For info on what QE is about LINK [QE not to be confused with HRM Queen Elizabeth II yuh ;) ]. The short short version is the government printing money and buying local institutions' financial assets/bonds resulting in all sorts of bond price(increase), yield(decrease) and currency pressures(depreciation). A simplistic way to look at it is if they had maintained the peg, the CHF could be even more significantly undervalued vs other key currencies and they would be sitting on a lot of increasingly lower value EUR. 

The SNB's fears weren't unfounded as a little time later, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has announced that he will pump €1.1tn at a rate of €60bn (£46bn) a month into financial markets until September 2016, in an attempt to prevent the fragile eurozone economy from grinding to a halt.

What has happened since? 

Wild swings in the currency. at one point in the day's trading, it's value had fallen by 40% which is crazy if u have ever traded currency to just CHF0.85443 : 1 EUR !! movements are normally talked about in bps(pronounced bips like how you say pips and is also called pip :) and stands for basis point which is 0.01% or 1/100th of a percent or 0.0001. It closed that day at a less crazy CHF 0.9941 : 1 EUR but still mind staggering. Now several weeks later, it's ranging in the CHF1.067-1.071 : 1 EUR range. 

What the... 

Watch Groups like Richemont and Swatch will have pressures to increase prices unless it can
be absorbed by their regular increase or if they haven't done their regular increase and can now factor this in 
Why is it significant for the Swiss and what does it mean for Swiss based watch companies with most of their production in Switzerland? 

Switzerland's economy is heavily reliant on making stuff in Switzerland [notice 'Swiss Made' on the dial of your pricey luxury watch? :) ] and selling 'em abroad. The exports of goods and services is over 70% of Swiss GDP. So if it gets more expensive to make stuff in Switzerland from the eyes of folks outside of it and wanting to buy Swiss goods, the cost of those goods go up. 

Hence most folks expect the watch prices to rise and some brands have had increases like Audemars Piguet (Regular increase in Jan 2015 and the increase to factor the CHF rise in Feb 2015). Rolex has not announced any change as yet as they aren't releasing stock to their dealers but will probably fix the price levels with the issuance of new stock to their authorised dealers. 

AP increased prices... Rolex is thinking hard about what it should be I think

Patek has very interestingly gone contrarian and decreased prices. yup all these watches are cheaper now
right move or wrong move? time will tell... their customers who bought just before the decrease should be 
upset though and rightly so
of note to me, especially coming from my recent comparos of the audemars piguet royal oak 15202 extra thin 40th anniversary piece and the patek philippe nautilus jumbo 5711 LINK1 LINK2 is that with AP increases and PP decreases, their price is now almost on par! AP at S$31,800 and PP at S$31,900. 

Same same... but different ;)

we'll see what the coming months bring for the other brands on price changes, impacts to retail or dealer discounts and the end consumer. cheers, raph

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...