June 29, 2020 / 7:28 AM / 8 days ago

Swiss Q1 current account surplus narrows, SNB intervention leaps

FILE PHOTO: Statues are seen on the building of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in Bern, Switzerland May 20, 2020. Picture taken May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland’s reserve assets rose by more than 34 billion Swiss francs ($35.88 billion) in the first quarter as the Swiss National Bank ramped up currency interventions to curb the safe-haven franc’s strength, data released on Monday showed.

Transactions recorded in the country’s financial account showed a net acquisition of 34 billion francs on the assets side and a net incurrence of 35 billion on the liabilities side in the first quarter.

“The SNB’s foreign currency purchases dominated on the assets side; this was reflected in an acquisition of reserve assets,” the SNB said.

Reserve assets rose by a net 34.52 billion in the quarter after a decline of 600 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and a gain of 2.28 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Switzerland’s current account surplus narrowed to 17 billion francs in the first quarter of 2020, 3 billion francs less than in the same quarter of 2019.

“This decline was principally due to trade in services, particularly licence fees, telecommunications, computer and information services, and business services,” the central bank said.

($1 = 0.9477 Swiss francs)

Reporting by John Revill

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