SNB Posts First-Quarter Profit on Foreign Currency Gains

The Swiss National Bank posted a profit for the first three months of the year as the value of foreign currency positions rose.

The Zurich-based central bank recorded a profit of 11.2 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion), compared with a consolidated loss of 1.73 billion francs in the year earlier period, according to a statement today.

Foreign currency positions contributed 11.2 billion francs, due to exchange-rate gains of 5.2 billion francs and a valuation gain on shares of 4.9 billion francs. That compares to a loss of 2.6 billion francs a year ago. Gold holdings lost 100 million francs in the first quarter of 2013.

During the first three months of the year, the franc depreciated 0.8 percent versus the euro and declined 3.6 percent against the dollar. The price of gold slipped 1.4 percent in Swiss franc terms. The SNB holds 1,040 tons of gold.

The SNB, which has accumulated reserves equal to nearly 75 percent of annual gross domestic product, has stressed that its asset management is not conducted for generating profit and instead should serve monetary-policy objectives.

The SNB’s stabilization fund, created in 2008 to help bail out UBS AG, reported a quarterly profit of $582 million.

The central bank is structured as a joint-stock company, in which public shareholders including cantons and regional banks have a stake of about 55 percent. Private individuals hold the remainder.

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