Switzerland enjoyed an increase in foreign trade in the first half of the year, thanks mainly to the strength of the chemicals industry, the government said on Tuesday. It issued figures showing a surplus of SFr229 million ($132 million) in the foreign trade balance.
The positive figures follow a deficit of SFr929 last year.
A statement from the finance ministry attributed the improvement to increased exports to developing countries, eastern Europe, Russia and China. Exports grew by 5.4 per cent in real terms, compared with the same period last year, to reach SFr67.6 billion.
Imports, on the other hand, grew by a more modest 3.2 per cent in real terms to SFr67.4 billion. The bulk of the increase was in imports from other parts of Europe and developing countries.
The ministry said consumer goods accounted for much of the growth in exports, as well as three-fifths of the increase in imports.
It said that with an 18 per cent increase in turnover the chemicals industry had made greater strides than other branches of industry, particularly in the pharmaceuticals, vitamins and diagnostics branches.
swissinfo with agencies