National bank turns a profit for 2011

The Swiss National Bank expects to earn a profit of SFr13 billion ($13.8 billion) for 2011, meaning that the federal government and the cantons will benefit from a SFr1 billion windfall, slightly more than expected.

This content was published on January 13, 2012 - 08:33 and agencies

The SNB announced on Friday that the value of its gold holdings had increased by SFr5 billion last year, while foreign currency positions had contributed another SFr8 billion.

Around SFr3.2 billion will be allocated to provisions for currency reserves, and another SFr5 billion will be used to fill the gap in the distribution reserve. The remaining profit after the payout to the authorities will also go to this reserve.

The SNB had warned in November that the excess profits it hands out could shrink by at least two thirds this year and evaporate completely in the worst case scenario. In 2010, the central bank had lost SFr20.8 billion.

The SFr2.5 billion handout that had been distributed among the 26 cantons since 2002 had constituted a small, yet often significant, part of their annual budget.

On average, the payment was equivalent to just over two per cent of a canton’s expenditure and 4.6 per cent of income from direct taxes.

The definitive figures will be released in early March.

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