Swiss National Bank, USD 380 billion record reserves in cash

With Europe’s debt crisis hurting returns on the least risky bonds, the Swiss National Bank is keeping reserves in cash after its policy to cap the franc swelled currency holdings by 50 percent in the four months through June to a record 365 billion francs (USD 380 billion), Mediafax informs, quoting Bloomberg. Money held at central banks, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements accounted for 72 percent of the gain. The SNB has been piling up euro holdings to defend the franc ceiling of 1.20 versus the single currency introduced in September 2011. While the central bank previously mainly invested foreign currencies in government bonds of AAA-rated nations, the surge in cash reserves suggests policy makers are finding it more difficult to find the right investments. The SNB’s foreign-exchange holdings amounted to about 60 percent of Swiss gross domestic product at the end of the second quarter. Euros accounted for 60 percent of currency reserves, up from 51 percent three months earlier, reflecting the ongoing battle to keep a lid on the franc.

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