ZURICH, April 26 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank reported a first-quarter loss of 6.8 billion Swiss francs ($6.92 billion) on Thursday, highlighting the volatility its massive balance sheet creates for the central bank's earnings.
The SNB's loss contrasted with a 7.9 billion franc profit in the first quarter of last year and was mainly due to a loss of 7.0 billion francs on its foreign currency positions which have soared to 768 billion francs.
Higher interest rates in the United States and in the eurozone reduced the value of the SNB's bond portfolio, while the weaker dollar and the downturn in the equity markets cut the value of the SNB's investments.
The losses were partly offset by dividend payments from the SNB's massive stock portfolio and the 0.5 billion francs it got from Swiss franc position, mostly from the negative interest it charges on sight deposit accounts.
$1 = 0.9825 Swiss francs Reporting by John Revill and Michael Shields, Editing by John Miller