Swiss balance of payments Updates Q1-Q3 2013
From the official press release:
“Compared to the same quarter one year earlier, Switzerland’s current account surplus advanced by CHF 6 billion to CHF 20 billion. …The financial account posted net capital outflows of CHF 39 billion, compared with CHF 30 billion in the same quarter one year earlier, and the composition of the net outflows changed considerably.”
The outflows in Net Bank Lending continued, while as for portfolio investment slight outflows were visible.
The second quarter showed one movement: Investors were piling more into Swiss equities than Swiss into foreign stocks again. The red line below crossed the blue again (see above). The SNB losses in Q2/2013 represent an additional outflow; this time in reserve assets. The losses, however, are only a valuation effect and do not weaken the currency.
The main important development, however was that Net Bank Lending has inverted path, strong net outflows of 28 bln. CHF. Banks seem to start lending in foreign currency, more than foreigners lend or pay back to Switzerland.
The Balance of Payments for Q1/2013
In the first quarter of 2013, the Swiss franc weakened: one major reason behind this was that outflows in the financial account, excluding reserve assets, were able to counter the strong current account surplus. Direct investment outflows intensified, net portfolio investments were slightly negative. Most importantly net lending was slightly negative for the first time since 2003, the Swiss were lending more to foreigners than the opposite.
The quickly available proxy for the balance of payments (= sum of current account and financial account excl. reserve assets) are SNB sight deposits. They are not rising any more; this implies that the SNB is not intervening, and implicitly that the Financial Account (excl. SNB reserves) is able to neutralize the continuously positive current account surplus.
The next page contains the balance of payments from 1983 to 2008 and some history in German.