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UPDATE 1-Swiss National Bank currency interventions fall sharply in Q3

(Adds details, background)

ZURICH, Dec 31 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said on Thursday it had deployed nearly 11 billion Swiss francs ($12.49 billion) for foreign exchange interventions in the third quarter, a fifth of the value of second-quarter interventions that came at the peak of the COVID-19 first wave.

The decline, from 51.51 billion francs between July and September, still brings the nine-month intervention total to just over 100 billion francs, well above the 13.2 billion francs it spent for all of 2019 to buy foreign currency.

The SNB has vowed to remain active and intervene when necessary to rein in what the central bank calls the “highly valued” Swiss franc. Its activities led to it being branded a currency manipulator by the U.S. Treasury earlier this month, a label rejected by the SNB.

The franc has lost steam against the euro since May, when it rose sharply against the common currency in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic. In recent days, it hit its lowest level against the euro in nearly seven months, welcome news for Switzerland’s export-driven economy.

But the franc remains much stronger than in April 2018, when a euro briefly cost more than 1.20 francs, the weakest the Swiss currency had been since the country abandoned its peg to the euro in January 2015. (bit.ly/3n2XYxq)

$1 = 0.8809 Swiss francs Reporting by John Miller Editing by Gareth Jones

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