SNB’s Foreign-Currency Reserves Inched Higher in October

The Swiss National Bank’s foreign-currency reserves inched higher in October as the franc depreciated against the euro.

The Zurich-based central bank’s holdings stood at 434.7 billion Swiss francs ($477 billion) last month, compared with a revised 433 billion francs in September, data on its website showed today. Economists expected them to climb to 434 billion francs, according to the median of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The SNB has amassed record foreign-exchange reserves through currency-market interventions to defend the cap of 1.20 per euro it set on the franc in September 2011. The holdings, calculated according to International Monetary Fund standards at the beginning of each month, hit an all-time high of 444 billion francs in May.

Even so, the central bank hasn’t intervened in currency markets for more than a year, SNB President Thomas Jordan said last month, adding the measure remained in place if needed.

In October, the franc depreciated 0.6 percent versus the euro and 0.2 percent against the dollar. The franc is popular among investors as a haven at times of heightened market stress and their anxiety about the euro area’s debt crisis prompted the franc to nearly reach parity with the euro in August 2011.

At the end of the third quarter, the SNB held 48 percent of its foreign-currency reserves in euros and 27 percent in dollars. With stock markets rallying this year, the SNB has boosted the proportion of equities it holds to a record 16 percent. The remainder of the reserves are primarily held in highly rated government bonds.

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