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Swiss watch exports surge to pre-crisis levels

Swiss watch exports have surged back to pre crisis levels this year, leading a sharp recovery in Switzerland’s foreign trade, official data showed on Thursday.

Watchmaking exports recovered to levels last seen in 2007 over the first three months of this year, data from the the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) showed.

The revival was led by strong growth in demand abroad for middle range to expensive Swiss watches and movements, especially in Asia.

In March, overall Swiss watch exports grew to about 1.2 billion Swiss francs (1.12 million dollars, 837 million euros) an increase of 32.8 percent year-on-year.

“The recovery is therefore clearly confirmed, with the first quarter showing an upturn of 16.6 percent and a return to levels recorded in 2007,” the federation added.

A marked pick-up in China and Hong Kong was amplified by a rebound in the United States while European markets lost ground.

Meanwhile, overall Swiss foreign trade returned to quarterly growth for the first time since 2008 as exports “took off”, the Federal Customs office said

Switzerland’s balance of trade nearly doubled to 5.7 billion Swiss francs over the firts quarter, it added in a statement.

Exports grew by 6.9 percent year on year to 47.2 billion francs, fulled by watchmaking, metals and chemcials, while depressed machine tools and electornics exports also gained ground for the firts time in 17 months.

Imports recovered at a slower pace, gaining 0.5 percent to 41.5 billion francs after an unusual bout of imports of Vietnamese gold for refining in Switzerland last year tailed off.