The franc (sign: Fr. or SFr) is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein; it is also legal tender in the Italian exclave Campione d'Italia. Although not formally legal tender in the German exclave Büsingen (the sole legal currency is the euro), it is in wide daily use there. The Swiss National Bank issues banknotes and the federal Swissmint issues coins.
The Swiss franc is the only version of the franc still issued in Europe. The smaller denomination, a hundredth of a franc, is a Rappen (Rp.) in German, centime (c.) in French, centesimo (ct.) in Italian, and rap (rp.) in Romansh.
Given its quadrilingual populace, coins are language-neutral. Only Latin, as the last commonly spoken language on the territory of Switzerland, is used for inscriptions.
The Swiss franc has historically been considered a safe-haven currency with virtually zero inflation and a legal requirement that a minimum of 40% be backed by gold reserves. However, this link to gold, which dates from the 1920s, was terminated on 1 May 2000 following a referendum. By March 2005, following a gold selling program, the Swiss National Bank held 1,290 tonnes of gold in reserves which equated to 20% of its assets.
Switzerland has remained a stable market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labour force and a larger GDP per capita than other Western European economies. The economic practices of Switzerland's government have conformed to that of the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness. Switzerland has consistently served as a safe haven for international investors as it has kept a certain degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc's long-term external value. In addition, unemployment has remained at less than half the EU average.
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