Swiss central bank takes $32 billion first quarter loss after spike in Swiss franc value

Switzerland's central bank says it took a first-quarter loss of 30 billion Swiss francs ($32 billion) as the rapid appreciation of the national currency led to high foreign exchange losses.

The Swiss National Bank said Thursday that its loss on foreign currency positions alone came in at 29.3 billion Swiss francs in the quarter, which ended March 31, while the value of its gold reserves dropped 1 billion francs.

The Swiss National Bank shocked markets in January when it dropped its cap on the franc's value against the euro, causing the currency to spike and "as a result, to exchange rate-related losses on all investment currencies."

Because its result "depends largely on developments in the gold, foreign exchange and capital markets," the bank says strong fluctuations are to be expected.