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Switzerland: strong profits of SNB, new data on foreigners

Switzerland: strong profits of SNB, new data on foreigners

31 July 2018

Swiss Federal Government published data on foreign residents in the country that showed numbers are on the rise. Over two million foreigners live in Switzerland, which makes for one quarter of the country’s total population. The beginning of the week brought also financial data of Swiss National Bank.

One quarter are foreigners

The Federal Government of Switzerland has published new data on foreign citizens residing in the country. The total number of foreigners rose to over two million in the first half of 2018. That means one quarter of Switzerland’s total population is from abroad. The number rose comparing to the first quarter of 2017, even though the migration rate fell – by 2.6 percent comparing to last year. The number of permanent residents decreased by 1 percent versus H1 2017. Taking into the account both permanent and temporary residents, in Switzerland live 2,068,455 foreigners. That is quite a lot, but one must remember there additionally there are many foreigners who commute to work – so-called cross-border workers. Those employees were not included in the data, as it looked only on temporary and permanent residents that actually live in Switzerland, not only work here. When it comes to nationalities, the largest group of foreign citizens comes from the European Union or the European Economic Area – exactly 1,415,411 people that makes up for 68,4 percent. The rest of foreigners – 653,044 – comes from non-EEA countries. There are 54,455 refugees residing in Switzerland as of July 2018. Only in the first half year of 2018 as much as 69 499 foreigners from the EU or EEA moved to Switzerland to seek employment, up 0.5 percent comparing to last year’s figures. In the same period 19,357 new migrants moved to Switzerland due to family reasons, down 0.7 percent versus H1 2017. More than 20 percent of that group have a Swiss member of family. The biggest group of foreigners resides in Zurich – 407,453. Next biggest communities of foreign residents live in Geneva, Bern and Vaud. Switzerland remains popular destination of migration, similarly as it is also one of the most popular country for cross-border workers. To receive citizenship, foreigners must have lived in the country for at least 10 years. In addition to that, during the application process, they must prove they are abiding by Swiss law and order and show they are no threat to the country’s security. They also have to be well integrated in terms of social, economic life into the society, as well as know languages or languages spoken here. Those foreigners who have been receiving social benefits in the last three years can not apply or citizenship.

Strong SNB profits

Other data published this week by Swiss public institutions was of financial nature. Swiss National Bank reported profits for the H1 2018 of CHF 5.11 billion, a large increase comparing to CHF 1.22 billion reported last year. Even though in the first quarter of the year, SNB recorded loss of CHF 5.8 billion, generally in the whole half year it managed to gain huge profits. This could be possible mainly due to profits coming from foreign currency positions of CHF 5.2 billion. The SNB gained on weaker Swiss Franc exchange rate against other currencies, like EUR, USD etc. Especially, the US Dollar’s stronger stance against the Swiss Franc is responsible for the SNB’s profits on foreign currency positions. Other figures from the H1 financial reports showed that current income from interest and dividends was at CHF 6.9 billion, income from Swiss Franc positions was CHF 1 billion, whereas gold holdings recorded loss of CHF 1 billion. SNB ended last year with record-breaking profit of CHF 54 billion.

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