Swiss central bank SNB earns less than half

D.he Swiss National Bank (SNB) achieved a profit of around 21 billion francs or the equivalent of 19.4 billion euros last year, according to preliminary figures. This means that the result has fallen by more than half compared to the previous year, when the central bank had earned almost CHF 49 billion. According to the SNB, valuation gains in 2020 were primarily based on foreign exchange and gold holdings. The federal government and the cantons of Switzerland can look forward to an unchanged distribution of 4 billion francs.

The final annual financial statements are to be published on March 1st. According to the central bank, the profit from foreign exchange positions was CHF 13 billion. A valuation gain of 7 billion Swiss francs resulted on the gold holdings. After taking into account the distribution reserve of 84 billion francs, this results in net profit of around 98 billion francs. The result of the SNB is always very prone to fluctuations because the balance sheet contains foreign exchange reserves amounting to hundreds of billions of francs. This includes stocks and bonds from abroad.

Accusation of currency manipulation

The SNB is one of the largest creditors of the German state because it holds numerous federal bonds. These serve to prevent the franc from appreciating too much against the euro. The SNB also buys other foreign currencies in order to prevent the economically damaging appreciation of the franc, which is in demand in times of crisis. If the Swiss currency becomes too expensive, the Swiss export economy will suffer. Despite the American accusation of currency manipulation, the Swiss monetary authorities want to stick to this policy.

In December, the US Treasury Department published a report that Switzerland met all the criteria to be classified as a currency manipulator. Besides Switzerland, only Vietnam fulfills these criteria of the US Treasury Department.


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