ZURICH, April 30 (Reuters) - The Swiss National Bank recorded a hefty profit in the first quarter, on gains on its share portfolio as stock markets rallied and on a strong dollar that helped boost the value of its huge currency reserves.
The SNB capped the Swiss franc at 1.20 per euro in September 2011 to help stave off recession and the threat of deflation, intervening heavily to defend that limit as the euro zone crisis flared in 2012, swelling its foreign exchange reserves.
The SNB said the dollar strengthened 4 percent against the franc since the start of 2013 and the euro gained 0.9 percent, outweighing losses against the yen and sterling.
Exchange rate gains were 5.2 billion and valuation gains on equities reached 4.9 billion. Total consolidated profit was 11.2 billion Swiss francs ($11.96 billion) compared with a year-earlier loss that was restated as 1.6 billion francs.
Worries about the economic crisis in Cyprus pushed the safe-haven franc up again in March, with the SNB's holdings of foreign currency rising to 438.3 billion francs at the end of that month.
At the end of March, the SNB said euro-denominated assets made up 48 percent of its portfolio, down from 49 percent at the end of 2012, while 27 percent was held in dollars, down from 28 percent, and 9 percent in yen, up from 8 percent.
The SNB, which is trying to diversify its portfolio, said its holdings of other currencies - including the Swedish and Danish crowns and the Australian and Singapore dollars, and South Korean won - increased to 5 percent from 4 percent.
The value of its unchanged gold reserves fell in value by 0.1 billion francs. Gold prices tumbled in April to their lowest in more than two years.
The right-wing Swiss People's Party has gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on a proposal to ban the central bank from selling any of its gold reserves.
A fund of toxic assets from UBS, the country's largest bank which had to be bailed out in 2008, contributed 182 million to profits, the SNB said.
The SNB is a joint-stock company that has to report results to its shareholders, most of whom are Switzerland's 26 states, or cantons. They have come to rely on an annual dividend from the central bank to help support their budgets.
In 2010, the bank came under fire after it ran up a record loss of 27 billion francs on its currency holdings as it intervened to try to weaken the franc.
($1 = 0.9368 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by John Stonestreet) Keywords: SWISS SNB/RESULTS
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