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Swiss exports to US reach record high

Roche headquarters, Basel - Swiss pharmaceutical exports lead the way in Swiss-US trade expansion Keystone

Switzerland's exporters are reaping the benefits of the booming economy in the United States. A weak currency and strong US demand have pushed exports to record highs.

This content was published on August 17, 2000 - 17:36

Last year Swiss exports to the US soared by 17.4 per cent, reaching SFr13 billion ($7.6 billion). In the past six months, they have continued to rise by another 11.5 per cent.

The figures mean Switzerland is notching up an ever-greater trade surplus with the US. The latest data from the Federal Customs Authority showed that growth in imports from the US to Switzerland was much weaker last year, rising only 1.6 per cent to SFr6.9 billion.

The improvement in Swiss exports to the US can be partly explained by the weakness of the Swiss franc.

"Of course the Swiss franc has weakened a lot, and therefore Swiss exports are cheaper in the US," said Andreas Huffer, senior economist at Warburg Dillon Reed.

He also noted that "the US economy is doing so well, consuming more, investing more and importing more from every country".

Marcus Allenspach, economist at Cantrade Private Bank, told swissinfo that the improvement is down to strong US demand for certain products. "The major driving force behind the rise in Swiss exports to the US was the pharmaceutical sector."

Analysts are expecting another strong rise in Swiss exports to the US this year, as the economy there continues to expand, and the franc remains weak against the dollar.

"Last year the dollar bought SFr1.50, now it buys SFr1.70, so the currency effect alone will boost Swiss exports to the US by more than ten per cent," said Marcus Allenspach.

The report from the Federal Customs Authority noted that this year has already seen a sharp increase in demand for Swiss pharmaceuticals, watches and precision instruments from US consumers.

swissinfo with agencies

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