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Swiss National Bank reports massive losses

High losses had been expected, but the figure is higher than economists had predicted. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has taken a hit of CHF95.2 billion ($100 billion) for the first half of this year, mainly owing to losses on foreign currency positions.

After a loss of CHF32.8 billion in the first quarter, another CHF62.4 billion was added in the second quarter. High losses had been expected, but the figure is higher than economists had predicted.

While the foreign currency positions lost CHF97.4 billion, the gold holdings, which remained unchanged in volume terms, showed a valuation gain of CHF2.4 billion. On the Swiss franc positions the central bank achieved a small gain of CHF35.1 million.

As usual, the SNB emphasised that its results depend largely on developments in the gold, foreign exchange and capital markets. “Strong fluctuations are therefore to be expected, and only provisional conclusions are possible as regards the annual result,” it said in a statement on Friday.

In 2021 as a whole, for example, the SNB posted a profit of over CHF26 billion at the end of the year, with the first and second quarters being positive and the third and fourth quarters negative. In 2020, profit was CHF20 billion.

However, there are also years with significant losses, mainly owing to a weak stock market performance or a very strong franc. In 2015 and 2018, for example, the SNB had to post losses of over CHF23 billion and almost CHF15 billion respectively.

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