(Corrects third paragraph to show franc fell after release of
ZURICH, April 7 The Swiss National Bank's
foreign exchange reserves jumped by nearly 15 billion Swiss
francs ($14.93 billion) in March, suggesting it was actively
intervening on currency markets to rein in the safe-haven Swiss
franc, data showed on Friday.
The SNB held 683.181 billion francs worth of foreign
currency at the end of March, compared with 668.332 billion
francs in February, revised from an originally reported 668.18
billion, preliminary data calculated according to the standards
of the International Monetary Fund showed.
The franc fell to about 1.07 francs to the euro
after the data release, which followed news of U.S. missile
strikes against an airbase in Syria that prompted inflows into
assets considered safe havens .
The SNB has been using negative interest rates and currency
intervention to try to keep a lid on the franc, whose strength
against the euro weighs on the export-led Swiss economy.
At its quarterly policy review in March, the SNB highlighted
global political uncertainty as it stuck to its ultra-loose
monetary policy. The central bank is braced for the outcome of
European elections which could trigger an upsurge in demand for
the franc should nationalists perform well .
SNB Governing Board member Andrea Maechler said last month
the franc remained significantly over-valued and that the
central bank cannot tighten monetary policy before other
countries, forecasting the global low-rate environment would
continue for some time amid heightened uncertainty .
($1 = 1.0050 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Michael Shields)