BNP Paribas has struck a deal with customers after a court found it guilty of misleading practices over Swiss-franc denominated mortgages, in a move that could cost the French bank as much as 600 million euros ($658 million), a source close to the matter said. The settlement follows eight years of litigation led by French consumer group CLCV and targeting BNP's consumer unit BNP Paribas Personal Finance, which offered the loans amid the 2008-2009 financial crisis. "We confirm that, at Personal Finance's suggestion, an agreement has been reached with the CLCV association to offer an amicable solution to customers who so wish," BNP Paribas Personal Finance said in an emailed statement, without elaborating on the costs of the settlement for the bank.
The Swiss franc hit its strongest level against the dollar in nearly nine years on Friday, and the euro reached a four-month high as the greenback stayed under pressure ahead of the release of a key U.S. inflation gauge later in the day. The dollar has been softening in recent months as data shows U.S. inflation is slowing and traders ramp up bets of how much the Federal Reserve will be cutting interest rates in 2024. Among the beneficiaries of the dollar's weakness have been the euro, which on Friday rose 0.12% to $1.1024, its highest since mid-August, and the Australian dollar which squeezed up a fraction on the day to $0.6807, its highest since late July.
The potential for the Israel-Hamas conflict to worsen and poor corporate earnings have sent investors scrambling for safety with few havens left, as high-for-longer U.S. rate expectations batter government bonds and the yen. Enter the Swiss franc, a longstanding safe haven asset thatjust hit its highest level against the euro since 2015, standing tall as its traditional rivals lose appeal. "Markets are caught between a rock and a hard place, with a surge in risk aversion where bonds provide no protection," said Florian Ielpo, head of macro at Lombard Odier Investment Managers in Geneva.