Swiss Exports Rebound: Watch Exports Lead the Way in April

Swiss Exports Rebound: Watch Exports Lead the Way in April

Thu, May 30th 2024

Swiss export economy sees significant recovery in April, driven by rising watch exports and broad-based growth across other sectors.

KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini

The Swiss export economy recovered significantly in April, with watch exports seeing a notable increase after months of decline. Other product groups also contributed to the broad-based export growth.

Overall, Swiss exports rose to CHF 23.37 billion in April, a seasonally adjusted increase of 9.1% compared to the previous month, as reported by the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FCA). Adjusted for prices, the increase was 9.6%, marking a turnaround from the first quarter’s decline.

Watch Exports on the Rise

Swiss watch manufacturers saw a positive trend, with exports rising by 4.5% year-on-year to CHF 2.15 billion. Jean-Philippe Bertschy from Bank Vontobel noted strong performance among high-end brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Cartier, while lower-priced segments are still recovering.

Demand from the USA, the largest market for Swiss watches, was particularly strong, increasing by 12% to CHF 338.7 million. Other markets like Japan (+14%), Singapore (+13%), and the UAE (+13%) also showed significant growth. However, exports to China continued to decline, falling by 7.5%.

Broad-Based Export Growth

Other important export groups also grew, with chemical-pharmaceutical products contributing significantly with an increase of CHF 1.7 billion. Regionally, all major economic areas saw increased imports of Swiss goods, led by North America with 15.3% growth.

Imports into Switzerland totaled CHF 19.46 billion in April, an increase of 5.9% nominally and 3.2% in real terms, driven mainly by products from Asia (+12.7%).

The trade surplus rose to CHF 3.91 billion in April, up from CHF 2.85 billion in the previous month.

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