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Swiss National Bank reports record annual profit of 54b CHF in 2017

Swiss National Bank reports record annual profit of 54b CHF in 2017

ZURICH: Switzerland became richer in 2017 thanks to the country’s central bank, which manages a portfolio of foreign shares and bonds totaling 800 billion USD. The Swiss National Bank said on Tuesday it expects a record annual profit of 54 billion CHF (55 billion USD) in 2017  a huge sum equivalent to 8% of the country’s gross domestic product. By comparison, if the Federal Reserve makes a profit of a similar size to the US economy, it would be equivalent to 1.5 trillion USD. In fact, however, in recent years the Fed’s annual profit is about 100 billion USD. The Swiss central bank’s annual profit is more than Apple’s earnings per annum, as well as more than the overall result of investment bank JPMorgan Chase and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The Swiss bank employs about 800 people, and its chairman is among the best-paid central bankers with an annual salary of 1 million USD. The Swiss Central Bank is one of the few in the world, which shares are traded on the stock exchange. And its stocks have risen more than twice in the past year. Despite the good results, the bank is unlikely to sell its assets for fear of raising the value of the franc and hurting exports. Last year, the euro strengthened its position against the franc with an increase of nearly 10%. Namely, assets denominated in euro account for a predominant share of the financial assets held by the regulator, followed by dollar. The central bank explained that 49 billion CHF of their profits were realized by foreign assets. The Swiss central bank has accumulated about 760 billion CHF in foreign bonds and equities, which were bought during the debt crisis in Europe. Other central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Central Bank of Japan, also accumulated large portfolios consisting mainly of bonds. But these assets are denominated in their own currencies.