Swiss central bank to open branch in Singapore

Swiss central bank to open branch in Singapore

ZURICH - The Swiss central bank said Tuesday that it plans to open its first branch abroad, in Singapore, to better manage its growing foreign exchange reserves and assets in the Asia-Pacific region.

"A local presence will allow the SNB to extend its coverage of markets in Asia, and will facilitate its round-the-clock operations on the foreign exchange market - for example, to enforce the minimum exchange rate," the Swiss National Bank said in a statement.

The SNB has seen its foreign currency reserves swell in recent years, especially as it implemented in September 2011 an exchange rate floor of 1.20 francs for each euro to keep the currency from strengthening further.

The Swiss central bank said it has sought to diversify its investments, turning to new markets, while Asia's economic importance has grown considerably in recent years.

The SNB said it had looked at a number of locations in the Asia-Pacific region, but settled on Singapore due to its large financial marketplace, sound infrastructure and legal environment, plus proximity to emerging markets.

The branch is scheduled to open in mid-2013, said the SNB, and will have seven staff members.

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