* SNB publishes quarterly monetary policy report
* SNB sees strong Swiss franc weighing on foreign trade
* 45 percent of companies reported Sfr had negative impact
* Up from 28 pct in July and August
ZURICH, Dec 24 The strong Swiss franc weighed on
nearly half of all companies surveyed by the Swiss National Bank
in October and November for its quarterly monetary policy
report, the central bank said on Friday.
Manufacturers had had to battle most with the steep
appreciation of the franc, the SNB said in its quarterly report,
prepared ahead of its interest rate decision last week.
The SNB said 45 percent of the companies reported a negative
impact on business activity, above the 28 percent recorded when
the survey was carried out in July and August.
The franc has soared over 15 percent against the euro this
year, hitting fresh highs, and Swatch Group UHR.VX chief Nick
Hayek warned in a Reuters interview on Thursday its appreciation
could have far-reaching consequences for Switzerland. EURCHF=
A total of 244 companies took part in the survey, which
showed manufacturers of chemical products and plastics, the
metal and textile industries as well as the capital goods
sector, including big segments of the machine industry, had been
hit hardest by the strong franc.
Analysts at Kepler Capital Markets expect earnings forecasts
for Swiss firms to be cut by 3 to 4 percentage points due to the
franc as many firms take a hit to their margins as currency
hedges roll off.
Swiss companies in general said they were still likely to
employ more staff and that they expected turnover to rise.
The quarterly report also echoed the central bank's latest
assessment of the economy.
The SNB kept rates ultra-low last week as the euro zone debt
crisis has pushed up the Swiss franc and this is likely to hurt
the export-dependent Alpine country further. [ID:nLDE68D1IK]
(Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Toby Chopra)