Swiss National Bank posts strong first-half profit

The Swiss National Bank has been under pressure to pay out more of its profits to the government and cantons to offset the effects of Covid-19. © Keystone / Anthony Anex

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has announced a profit of CHF43.5 billion ($48 billion) for the first half of 2021, representing a record 55.6% increase on the same period last year.

This content was published on July 30, 2021 - 11:06

This came mostly from gains (CHF44.5 billion) on its foreign currency positions and a small profit on Swiss franc positions (CHF600 million), according to an SNB press releaseExternal link on Friday. On the other hand, it lost CHF1.4 billion on gold holdings.

“The SNB’s financial result depends largely on developments in the gold, foreign exchange and capital markets,” explains the press release. “Strong fluctuations are therefore to be expected, and only provisional conclusions are possible as regards the annual result.”

Distribution of profits to the Swiss government and cantons depends on the annual result and is regulated by an agreement between the finance ministry and the SNB. The agreement was revised earlier this year, allowing it to make a pay-out of up to CHF6 billion a year compared with CHF4 billion previously.

The SNB has faced calls from some politicians to help support the economy, which has been hit hard by Covid-19 and measures introduced to tackle the pandemic.

In 2020 the SNB recorded an annual profit of CHF20.9 billion, less than half of the CHF48.9 billion it made in 2019.

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