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T&V Commentary | Q2 2024

Insight

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has cut interest rates again - for the second time in three months. Interest rates were lowered by 0.25 percentage points to 1.25 per cent.

 

Why has the SNB lowered interest rates?

The President of the Swiss National Bank, Thomas Jordan, explained that this was possible due to the low inflation in the country. A lower key interest rate should also help to weaken the Swiss franc, stimulate the economy and reduce rents.

 

Will the SNB cut interest rates further?

A further interest rate cut to 1.0 per cent is not mandatory, but could still come. After that, the SNB is likely to have little room for manoeuvre.

 

Effects on the mortgage market

Short-term mortgages are becoming more favourable, while long-term fixed-rate mortgages are becoming less attractive.

 

How does this affect property prices?

Demand for residential property has fallen, but prices remain stable due to the housing shortage.

 

What should investors do?

A short-term SARON mortgage could be more advantageous. Long-term fixed-rate mortgages make sense if rising interest rates and high inflation are expected.


 

Dear reader

 

About eight years ago, we discovered a video by Tony Seba on YouTube. Back in 2017, he said that 2023/2024 would be the time when an electric car would be cheaper than a car with a combustion engine. This prediction came very close to reality. Since then, we have been following his ideas and presentations closely. Seba, a renowned author, entrepreneur and thought leader in the field of technological disruption, recently published an impressive piece entitled "This time we are the horses: the disruption of work by humanoid robots". His insights on the disruption of work by humanoid robots shed light on a transformative period we will experience, similar to the significant changes brought about by the advent of automobiles in the early 20th century.


One car on 5th Avenue in 1900, one horse in 1913
One car on 5th Avenue in 1900, one horse in 1913

Throughout history, any technology that has enabled a cost reduction by a factor of 10 or more compared to the existing system has always led to disruption. Today, we are on the verge of the most profound disruption to human labour since the introduction of electricity and the internal combustion engine over a century ago.


Insight 1: The inevitable rise of humanoid robots

Advances in sensors, AI, actuators and energy systems have made humanoid robots increasingly cost-efficient and powerful. A humanoid robot with a lifespan of 20,000 working hours and a total cost of USD 200,000 would mathematically cost USD 10 per hour. Despite this relatively high price, these robots are already competitive with human labour in a large part of the global economy. In reality, the lifetime cost of humanoid robots is likely to be less than 200,000 US dollars from the outset. The cost of labour for such robots is expected to fall below US$1 per hour before 2035 and below US$0.10 per hour before 2045.


Insight 2: The creation of a new labour system

Humanoid robots will not only replace human jobs, but will create a new labour system characterised by near-zero marginal cost of labour. This change requires new business models, similar to the internet and digital technologies, which have reduced the marginal cost of information and communication to almost zero.


Insight 3: Focus on tasks instead of jobs

Robots will perform tasks, not jobs. Initially, they will take on simpler tasks and perform more complex functions as their skills increase. This shift is changing the way we measure labour and productivity, with a focus on tasks per hour per dollar.


Insight 4: Productivity will increase by leaps and bounds

The use of humanoid robots will significantly reduce the cost of all products and services and improve quality. Robots will perform tasks accurately and without human error, resulting in more affordable and higher quality goods. In addition, it will massively expand the available labour force, growing its economy on a per capita productivity basis to an extent that was previously physically impossible.


A robot in a factory in 2025, a human in a factory in 2040 (image generated by Midjourney)
A robot in a factory in 2025, a human in a factory in 2040 (image generated by Midjourney)

Preparing for the future

The first phase of the introduction of robots will help to compensate for the shortage of labour. In the long term, decision-makers must prepare for an era in which machines do the main work. This transition requires careful planning to ensure a stable and just societal transformation.


As always, we would like to thank you for the trust you have placed in us!


 

"When the wind of change blows, some build walls, others build windmills."


Tony Seba, thought leader in the field of technological disruption



T&V Commentary Q2 2024
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