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Swiss exports reach a record high

Swiss watch exports have posted the highest monthly figure ever

(Keystone)

Exports from Switzerland in October rose by a real 17.8 per cent from a year ago to a record SFr16.6 billion ($13.36 billion), according to official figures.

The Federal Customs Office reported on Tuesday that imports had also increased by 12.7 per cent to SFr15 billion.

Adjusted for seasonal factors, exports increased by 2.7 per cent on September in real terms.

Switzerland's trade surplus narrowed to SFr1.58 billion ($1.27 billion) in October from the record in September.

"After the dent in growth in September, Switzerland's foreign trade posted impressive results in October again," the customs office said in a statement.

"Exports rose above the SFr16 billion mark for the first time ever."

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has said it expects export growth to ease as the global economy cools, slowing overall growth of the SFr370 billion Swiss economy from just below three per cent this year to around two per cent in 2007.

In September the central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 1.75 per cent to offset the fastest economic growth since 2000.

The move coincided with an announcement by the finance ministry forecasting a budget surplus of SFr918 million for next year.

Watches

The Federal Customs Office said that although growth was broad based with regards to products and markets, the value of Swiss watch exports rose 15.5 per cent year-on-year in October to a record SFr1.504 billion.

This is the highest monthly result ever, far outstripping the best previous performance.

"This news will boost the confidence of watch manufacturers even more over the coming months," the customs office said.

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry in Biel said the number of wristwatches exported increased by 100,000 units compared with October 2005.

It attributed this strong performance to steel timepieces, with almost all other materials posting a decline in numbers. But in value terms, gold registered the highest growth.

The growth rate continued to decline in the United States – although the result was still positive – but exports to Hong Kong bounced back thanks to an "excellent" October. Europe recorded an above average monthly increase, as a result in particular of France and Britain.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Imports rose from SFr12.93 billion in October 2005 to SFr15.05 billion in October 2006.
Exports rose from SFr13.88 billion in October 2005 to SFr16.62 billion in October 2006.
The trade surplus narrowed from SFr1.76 billion in September 2006 to SFr1.58 billion in October 2006.

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