Swiss National Bank will sell 250 tonnes of gold reserves
The Swiss National Bank is to sell 250 tonnes of gold reserves over the coming two years.
With a total value of around $5.2 billion (£2.6 billion), the gold will be sold off at staggered intervals over the two-year period to minimise the impact on the world gold market.
Following the sale, the bank will hold 1,040 tonnes of gold, with the proceeds going towards increasing Switzerland's foreign currency reserves.
The proportion of gold in Switzerland's currency reserves has grown from 33 per cent to 42 per cent since the middle of 2005, the Associated Press reports.
Thomas Jordan, the Swiss National Bank's directorate member, said the sale would return the share of gold to its previous level.
Continued gold sales by central banks is bearish for the market, but the Swiss bank sale is in line with an agreement among 15 European central banks to limit gold sales to 500 tonnes per year, Reuters reports.
The spot gold price dropped slightly from $651.70 per ounce to $650.10 an ounce on news of the forthcoming sale.