Swiss foreign trade continues to fall in May

24th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland’s watchmaking, metallurgy, electronics and machine tools industries are especially affected by the drop in imports and exports.

Zurich -- Switzerland's foreign trade fell sharply in May but the trade surplus grew three percent to CHF 2.01 billion (EUR 1.3 billion, USD 1.8 billion), official data showed Tuesday.

Imports fell 21.8 percent from May 2008 to CHF 12.25 billion while exports dropped 19.1 percent to CHF 14.26 billion, the Federal Customs Office said in a statement.

Trade with the European Union, Switzerland's largest trading partner, fell by more than average, the customs office said, signalling "no sign of hope on the horizon."

Imports and exports fell by about 15 percent in the first five months of 2009, especially affecting the country's key watchmaking, metallurgy, electronics and machine tools industries.

Watch exports continued their slide, falling 27.6 percent in May to CHF 1.1 billion, the Swiss watchmaking federation (FH) said, with a collapse seen in the normally more resilient luxury segment.

In the first five months of 2009, foreign sales of Swiss watches and components dropped by a quarter compared to the same period in 2008.

Exports in the upper price segment -- above CHF 3,000 -- fell 35 percent in May.

The hardest-hit watch markets included the United States, with a drop of 42.7 percent, followed by Japan, off 30.3 percent and Hong Kong, down 26.2 percent.

AFP / Expatica

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