SNB Spent $88 Billion on Interventions in Year of Cap Exit

  • Central bank gave up franc ceiling in Jan. 2015 citing costs
  • Officials repeatedly pledged interventions to weaken franc

The Swiss National Bank spent 86.1 billion francs ($88 billion) on interventions last year, a measure of its efforts to shield the economy from deflation.

SNB President Thomas Jordan and his colleagues have repeatedly pledged to step in to prevent the franc from strengthening. They’ve done so even since they gave up a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 per euro in January 2015 on the grounds the interventions required to sustain it were out of proportion to the economic benefit.

“The vast majority of foreign currency purchases” was made that January, the SNB said in its annual report published on Thursday. “During the remainder of the year, the SNB also remained active in the foreign exchange market in order to influence exchange rate developments, where necessary.”

Swiss policy makers rarely state outright that they’ve intervened, and analysts use data on sight deposits and foreign currency reserves to gauge the scope of the central bank’s actions. Breaking with the usual protocol, Jordan said in June the SNB had acted to stabilize the franc amid the Greek debt crisis.

The 2015 figure compares with 25.8 billion francs spent on interventions in 2014 and 188 billion francs in 2012. The SNB made no foreign-currency purchases in 2013.

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