ZURICH Jan 6 The Swiss National Bank
said it would swing to a 9 billion Swiss franc ($9.95 billion)
loss for 2013 because of a dramatic drop in the value of its
The loss is likely to be politically charged as its means
the central bank cannot distribute dividends to its biggest
shareholders, Switzerland's 26 cantons, or states, or to the
The SNB said a 15 billion franc loss on its gold, which lost
28 percent of its value last year, could not be offset by a gain
of about 3 billion francs from foreign currency and profits of
more than 3 billion francs from selling a stabilisation fund set
up five years ago to bail out UBS during the financial
The right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) is forcing a
referendum to require the SNB to hold at least 20 percent of its
assets in gold, something the central bank has said is
Last year, the SNB relied on gains from large foreign
currency positions it had accumulated to defend the 1.20 per
euro ceiling it imposed on the franc in September 2011, as well
as a gold price rally, to post a 6 billion franc profit.
The SNB set the 1.20 threshold more than two years ago to
stave off deflation and shield the economy from recession.
Investors seeking a safe haven from turmoil in the euro zone had
pushed the franc close to parity against the euro.
Recent economic data from Switzerland, which has grown
steadily under the cap, has raised questions about the continued
relevance of the minimum exchange rate.
The SNB kept the currency cap in place at its quarterly
monetary policy meeting last month, saying Switzerland's
recovering economy was still vulnerable.
The SNB reports detailed earnings on March 25.