Swiss central bank expects big profit fall in 2012

GENEVA (AP) -- Switzerland's central bank says it expects to post a profit of around 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.4 billion) for 2012, driven by its foreign currency positions and rising gold prices.

But the Swiss National Bank's statement Thursday reflects a drop of more than half from last year's profit of 13.5 billion Swiss francs when it was buying a massive amount of euros to hold down the value of the franc.

The bank said its foreign currency positions contributed about 4.7 billion francs in profits, while the rise in gold prices delivered a 1.4 billion gain in the value of its holdings.

As is its custom the bank said it will distribute 1 billion francs of profits among its main shareholders, the federal government and the 26 regional cantons.