Slowing US economy hits watch exports

Slowdown in the United States affects watch exports but there is stronger demand for gold and platinum Keystone Archive

The Swiss watchmaking industry says it is beginning to feel the effects of the economic slowdown in the United States. Exports to the US, the industry's most important market, fell by 17.6 per cent in March (compared to March 2000), after more than two years of uninterrupted growth.

This content was published on April 30, 2001 minutes

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry in Biel said exports to other countries, including Japan and Italy, also showed signs of slackening.

The Federation said the total value of exports by Swiss watchmakers to all markets fell by 3.3 per cent in March, to SFr789.1 million ($456.13 million).

However, the first quarter closed with a record result of SFr2.461 billion, an increase of 12.4 per cent over the same period last year.

There was a stronger demand by consumers for gold and platinum watches during the first quarter, although the total number of finished watches exported fell by 15.7 per cent between January and March to 6,716,924. Their value was SFr2.178 billion.

The Federation said that March had not been a difficult month for all markets, In Asia, the rising trend continued in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In Europe, France rose again by 30.6 per cent.

It added that the strength of those markets had cushioned the effects of the slowdown in the US, which would probably continue over the next few months.

swissinfo with agencies

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