The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has called off the distribution to the Confederation and cantons. But they would probably not have to do without.
SNB has made a mega loss with its monetary policy. In the process, it skipped the distribution to the federal government, cantons and shareholders, as also reported by muula.ch.
But now resistance is coming from prominent quarters.
Blame on the central bank
The scientists around the group of the “SNB Observatory” think that the federal government and the cantons should not have to restrict their finances so much and that the SNB should nevertheless distribute the approximately 6 billion Swiss francs.
Since the end of 2005, the SNB’s balance sheet grew from 109 to 1057 billion Swiss francs by the end of 2021. The report was by a group led by Basel economics professor Yvan Lengwiler and economists Stefan Gerlach and Charles Wyplosz.
The development represents a rapid increase from 21 to 132 percent of Swiss GDP.
This increase was almost exclusively due to foreign exchange market interventions to prevent the appreciation of the Swiss franc as well as to income from foreign currency investments, the researchers added.
But with the strength of the Swiss franc, which cushions inflation from abroad, the value of these previously purchased assets fell, leading to a loss at the SNB. The equity capital then shrank by gigantic amounts and is expected to be around 66 billion Swiss francs at the end of 2022.
The scientists argue, however, that a distribution is still possible. And the central bank is building up reserves elsewhere that it does not actually need, they argue.
This is another example of the incomprehensible procedure in determining the distribution of profits, they criticized the SNB.
No focus on returns
In fact, the SNB had even intervened to appreciate the Swiss franc, which accentuated, i.e. reduced, its own losses in the short term.
This vividly shows that the SNB does indeed look at its own financial statements and the ‘prettification’ at balance sheet dates.
However, according to the analysis by “SNB Observatory”, it is reassuring to note that the SNB is focusing on price stability and not on profitability.
Crux in detail
It would be desirable, however, if the SNB would also steer a path in the area of profit distribution that is closer to the overall interests of the country. Accordingly, the federal government and the cantons should demand their money from the Swiss central bank.
They have budgeted the money, such as the Confederation with 2 billion Swiss francs, and must now tighten their belts, as also reported muula.ch.
However, exactly what the SNB’s 2022 balance sheet will look like is not even known yet. As also reported on muula.ch, the central bank does not intend to announce the detailed annual financial statements for 2022 until the beginning of March 2023.
Perhaps the independent central bank of Switzerland can still be swayed in its tough decision to not distribute a single Swiss franc until then.