Swiss exports lose steam | Markets macro

(AWP) Swiss exports fell in October. This was mainly due to the development of chemical-pharmaceutical products.

Specifically, Swiss exports reached a seasonally adjusted value of CHF 20.83 billion in October, which is 1.4% below the previous month. In real terms – i.e. price-adjusted – there was a decrease of 1.5% in October, as the figures from the Federal Customs Administration (EZV) on Thursday can see. Overall, exports continued on an upward trend, albeit at a flattened level.

Imports in October were also lower than in September. They fell by 2.3% to 16.42 billion (real: -4.4%). For the trade balance this still results in a surplus of CHF 4.42 billion.

The balance sheet in October was significantly influenced by the development of chemical-pharmaceutical products. Their dispatch fell within a month by 2.8% or CHF 317 million and thus shaped the overall result according to the FCA. The deliveries of immunological products in particular fell by a sixth or CHF 613 million.

Overall, a third of the product groups showed a minus in October and two thirds a plus. In the plus group, jewelry and jewelery stood out positively with an increase of CHF 233 million.

Fewer exports in USA

From a regional perspective, of the three major sales areas, only North America recorded a decline in demand for Swiss goods. After the massive plus in August, this is the second consecutive month’s decline. Meanwhile, exports to Asia stagnated, while exports to Europe increased by 3.3%.

The regional breakdown of imports was the opposite. Imports from Europe fell by 4.4% and those from Asia by 0.7%. At the same time, purchases from North America increased by a tenth. However, according to the FCA, imports from North America also fell significantly in the previous month.

On the product side, significantly fewer chemical-pharmaceutical products were launched in October. Imports of vehicles were also in the red (CHF -142 million; primarily aircraft).

At the same time, imports of jewelry and jewelery picked up again, as the increase of 18.3% shows. They achieved the highest result since March 2020. Imports also increased in the textiles, clothing and shoes as well as energy sources.

Watch exports are increasing again

The recovery in the watch industry has continued after the corona diver last year: In October, more Swiss timepieces were exported abroad than a year ago. The watch exports have thus also exceeded the level of the pre-Corona period.

In October 2021, Swiss watches worth CHF 2.13 billion were exported abroad, as the Federal Customs Administration (EZV) announced on Tuesday. That is nominally 12.5% ​​more than a year ago. In August and September exports had already increased by a good 10% and 16.6% respectively. In the two months before that, it had even jumped by almost 30% and a good 70%.

The industry is thus continuing to recover from the corona shock of last year, when shop closings, travel restrictions and economic worries had a heavy impact on global sales of luxury goods.

Exceeded pre-crisis level

The current value now even exceeds the pre-crisis level. Specifically, the value of the watches exported in October is 4.8% higher than that of October 2019, as the Association of the Swiss Watch Industry FH announced separately.

There was strong demand in October for expensive watches with a price of over CHF 3,000, which posted double-digit growth compared to October 2019. On the other hand, timepieces under CHF 3,000 fell in terms of both value and quantity.

For the entire year to date, watch exports have also exceeded the pre-crisis year: From January to October 2021, Swiss watches worth CHF 18.2 billion were exported. That is 1.4% more than two years ago.

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