The central bank of Switzerland, Swiss National Bank, announced yesterday that it expects an annual record-high profit of 54 billion Swiss francs, $55.25 billion, for 2017. This would be the biggest profit in the bank’s history.
The bank, which will present its full earning figures on March 5, said it also expects a 49 billion francs annual profit from its foreign currency positions, which have soared to 784 billion francs by November.
A valuation gain of 3 billion francs was logged on gold holdings for 2017, the bank said, while the net result on Swiss franc positions amounted to 2 billion francs.
The estimated profit would be more than double the profit the bank generated in 2016 which amounted to 24.5 billion, and it would surpass its previous highest annual profit of 38.3 billion francs in 2014.
The said profit is an advantage for the bank, especially in its fight against the strength of the franc, whose high value impacts Switzerland’s export-dependent economy.
The SNB’s profit was also supported by the strong global stock markets.
About 20% of the bank’s investments are in shares of companies, including large stakes in Amazon, Starbucks, and Facebook.
Generating a profit is not part of the central bank’s decree, which targets to ensure price stability in Switzerland while focusing on the country’s economic development.
In addition, the record profit does not necessarily mean that there would be a bigger payout for the bank’s 2,200 shareholders. The bank is fixed to a proposed payout of 15 francs per share, which is the maximum allowed under the Swiss law.
“The SNB’s dividend may seem quite low when compared to its profits, but the bank was not created to make a profit. It is just a nice side effect,” said Alessandro Beem, an economist at UBS.
According to Credit Suisse, the result would help the SNB to protect its expansive monetary policy, which has included regular currency market interventions to affect the franc.
“A large profit makes it easier for the SNB to explain why it has built up all these foreign currency reserves than if they reported a loss,” said economist Maxine Botteron.
Don’t get outdated! Subscribe now to FSMNews and be the first to know the freshest news about the forex, commodities, stocks, technology and the economy.