The Swiss National Bank (SNB), the central bank of Switzerland owned US equities worth a record $162 billion as of end June. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Zurich: The Swiss National Bank owned US equities worth a record $162 billion as of end June, reaping the benefits of a rallying market.

Data published on Friday showed the SNB held shares in 2,642 companies, including a $6 billion stake in Amazon and one worth $1.1 billion in Exxon Mobil.

The quarterly filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission offers a rare bit of insight into the SNB’s individual equity holdings, which it has accumulated during its long-running campaign to weaken the franc via currency-market interventions.

Climate-change activists have taken a keen interest in central banks’ asset purchases, and a group of protesters in the Swiss capital of Bern called on the SNB on Friday to sell its investments in firms that harm the environment.

With foreign-exchange reserves of more than 920 billion francs ($1.01 trillion), the SNB has already decided to exclude companies that mine coal for energy production.

Yet its overall investment strategy is to mirror indexes and serve the objectives of monetary policy. As of the end of the second quarter, 23 per cent of its foreign-exchange reserves were in equities, with the lion’s share in highly rated government bonds.

Following its most recent policy meeting, the SNB said the franc remained “highly valued” and confirmed its strategy of negative interest rates plus a pledge to use foreign-exchange interventions if needed.