GENEVA – The Swiss National Bank said in a statement on Tuesday that it expected to report a profit of 54 billion Swiss Francs ($54.9 billion) for the financial year 2017, doubling its 2016 figure thanks to the weakness of the country’s national currency.
In 2016, Switzerland’s central bank, responsible for its monetary policy and the issuing of Swiss franc banknotes, earned 24.5 billion Swiss francs.
“According to provisional calculations, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) will report a profit in the order of CHF 54 billion for the 2017 financial year,” the statement said.
The statement said that the bulk of the profit was based on foreign currency positions which had amounted to 49 billion Swiss Francs.
The appreciation of gold also proved beneficial, said the bank, which holds 1,040 tons of the precious metal.
“A valuation gain of CHF 3 billion was recorded on gold holdings,” the statement said.
In addition, the BNS said its net result on Swiss Franc positions amounted to 2 billion francs.
As a result, BNS said it expected to post a shareholder dividend payment of 15 Swiss Francs per share, the maximum legally stipulated amount.
It also foresaw a profit distribution to the Swiss Confederation and its cantons of 1 billion Swiss Francs.
This dividend will guarantee all 26 Swiss cantons (federal states) and the Swiss Helvetic Confederation a supplementary allocation “as the distribution reserve after appropriation of profit exceeds 20 billion,” the statement said.
After these payments, the distribution reserve, that is, the profit surplus set aside to strengthen the BNS liquid resources and not for meeting any other liability, contingency or commitment now amounted to 67 billion Swiss Francs, the bank said.
A detailed report on the annual result with definitive figures was due to be released on March 5, the statement added.