Swiss current account surplus widens, SNB slows forex action

ZURICH -Switzerland’s first-quarter current account surplus widened to 19 billion Swiss francs ($19.63 billion), 4 billion francs more than in the same quarter in 2021, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) said on Wednesday.

“The increase was primarily due to the higher receipts surplus in goods trade (up CHF 6 billion), which resulted from merchanting (higher receipts surplus) and non-monetary gold trading (lower expenses surplus). The receipts surplus in traditional goods trade (foreign trade total) declined,” it said https://www.snb.ch/en/mmr/reference/pre_20220622/source/pre_20220622.en.pdf on its website.

The SNB acquired 3.24 billion francs in reserve assets during the quarter as part of its campaign to slow the strengthening of the Swiss franc.

The amount was significantly down from the 23.56 billion francs the central bank bought in the previous quarter, indicating the SNB was more relaxed about the franc’s strengthening between January and March this year.

SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan last week said he thought the franc was no longer highly valued, citing higher inflation in other countries.

Still the SNB would intervene in the currency markets if there was to be an “excessive” appreciation of the franc, Jordan said, while the bank would also sell foreign currencies if the franc were to weaken.

The data on Wednesday showed how the SNB‘s foreign currency investments have been hit by the turbulence upending markets stock and bond markets so far this year.

The SNB‘s securities portfolio suffered a valuation loss of 37 billion francs during the quarter, reducing the value of the shares and bonds it owns to 810 billion francs.

The central bank’s gold holdings meanwhile increased in value by 4 billion francs to 60 billion francs.

($1 = 0.9677 Swiss francs)

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