• Switzerland's news in English

Watches boost Swiss trade figures

James Savage · 4 Feb 2011, 12:51

Published: 04 Feb 2011 12:51 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Vibrant Asian demand propped up Swiss trade last year despite the rising Swiss franc, as Switzerland's flagship watch industry restored its exports to pre-crisis levels, authorities said Thursday.

Vibrant Asian demand propped up Swiss trade last year despite the rising Swiss franc, as Switzerland's flagship watch industry restored its exports to pre-crisis levels, authorities said Thursday.

The Swiss watch industry's federation (FH) reported a "very clear cut recovery" in 2010 as exports grew by 2.9 billion francs ($3 billion) over the previous downturn year to 16.2 billion francs.

"This growth of 22.1 percent clearly indicates a return to a healthy and robust situation for Swiss watchmaking, with a level slightly higher than the  2007 result, which was considered at the time to be excellent," the federation added.

Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong -- the biggest foreign market accounting for more than 3.0 billion francs -- grew by 46 percent in a year, while China (+57%) and Singapore (+33%) were the other fastest growing export markets.

Asia absorbed more than half the total value of Swiss watch exports in 2010, growing at nearly three times the rate recorded in the Americas and Europe.

The watchmaking federation said there were already signs so far this year that the recovery was on "firm foundations" and set to continue in 2011.  

Meanwhile Switzerland's overall foreign trade "held up well in 2010, given the strength of the Swiss franc," the federal customs office said.

Although exporters were forced to cut prices due to the strong Swiss currency, Asia was "once again the most vibrant source of demand," it added.  

Overall Swiss exports grew last year by 7.1 percent to 193 billion Swiss francs, while imports rose 8.4 percent to 174 billion in 2010.

Story continues below…

The trade surplus declined for the first time since 2005, by 3.8 percent to 19.6 billion francs.

Although the surplus was dampened by a steep increase in a trade deficit with the European Union, Switzerland's biggest foreign market, it was the second highest on record, the customs authority said.

The franc, which investors regard as a refuge currency in times of crisis, has gained 10 percent against the dollar over the past year and 15 percent against the euro amid uncertainty over the global economic recovery.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available