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Exports post first fall in over four years

A downturn in the global economy has taken its toll on Swiss exports, which fell sharply in September, posting their first monthly decline in over four years.

Exports were 8.2 per cent lower than in August, taking into account price swings and seasonal factors, according to the Federal Customs Office.

September's downturn brought the nine-month growth rate to 7.4 per cent, authorities said.

It was the first decline in exports since January 2005, the Customs Office said, adding that growth would follow, albeit slower than before.

"The negative result is mainly due to the weak performance of the chemicals industry," it said.

Switzerland's economy has nevertheless been shielded from its strong position in the machinery, pharmaceutical and watch industries.

The government has said that the expansion rate for foreign sales would drop to around 3.4 per cent for 2008 from ten per cent in 2007 and 2006.

Exports should grow by 2.3 per cent in 2009, authorities said.


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