The Swiss commercial deficit reached its highest level in nine years in August.
Imports were worth SFr661 million more than exports due mainly to higher oil prices, according to the federal customs administration.
In July, the difference was only SFr233.4 million. Imports increased 18 per cent in August, while exports only grew by 17 per cent.
The commercial data, released on Friday, showe the deficit increase was due to a number of factors. Imports of raw materials and semi-finished products, as well as investment goods, all grew by 18 per cent or more.
Energy imports almost doubled in value in August, reaching SFr543 million. The volume increased by a quarter.
The increase in exports comes mainly from consumer goods, whose value grew by nearly a quarter.
The commercial deficit for August 2000 is 31.9 per cent higher than in August 1999.
This year, there have only been commercial surpluses in February and May. The total commercial deficit for the first eight months of this year is SFr492 million, compared with SFr1.731 billion for the same period last year.
swissinfo with agencies
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