Swiss set record trade surplus as imports slump

Swiss exports stagnated last month but a drop in imports left Switzerland with a record balance of payments surplus of 4.2 billion francs, the federal customs administration (FCA) reported on Thursday.

Swiss set record trade surplus as imports slump
Swiss machinery worker. Photo: Swissmem

In real terms exports fell 4.7 percent in October to 18.8 billion francs from the same month a year earlier, the FCA said in its monthly report.

But the reduction was largely due to one workday less in the month this year than in 2014.

When corrected for this difference, exports were largely unchanged (down 0.1 percent), the report said.

Imports fell 11.6 percent to 14.7 billion francs, the FCA said.

When corrected for the lower number of workdays, imports were still down 6.7 percent.

Exports to all regions in the world dropped except for North America (up four percent) with sales to Europe down seven percent, impacted by the continuing strength of the franc against the euro, the report said.

The chemicals and pharmacy sector saw overall exports rise 3.4 percent but other sectors recorded significant declines (without accounting for the fewer working days).

Watch industry exports dropped 12.3 percent, those from the metallurgy sector fell 12 percent, while those from the machinery and electronics industries tumbled by 11.3 percent.

The paper and graphics arts sector posted the biggest fall in exports, down 19 percent.

Imports were lower in all categories.

Switzerland’s cumulative balance of trade balance for the first ten months of the year rose to 31.1 billion francs, up by 6.5 billion francs from the same period in 2014.

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