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Swiss watchmaking industry heads for new record

Luxury timepieces boosted Swiss watch exports for the first six months

(Keystone)

The Swiss watchmaking industry is heading for another record year. Exports for the first six months of 2000 grew by 7.6 per cent over the same period last year to reach SFr5.1 billion ($2.98 billion), according to figures released on Monday.

Commenting on the result, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry in Biel said that watchmaking had confirmed its place among the leading group of Switzerland's most dynamic industries.

There was a strong increase in exports of 18 carat gold watches (+18 per cent). However, there were negative trends volume-wise for stainless steel, plastic and aluminium watches.

In a statement, the Federation said the result was achieved despite a decline in exports of 5.3 per cent to SFr769.9 million in the main market, the United States.

Excluding the US, where the drop was said to be predictable, only two of the industry's main markets, Thailand and Australia, showed decreasing export figures.

Export increases were particularly noted in the United Arab Emirates (+23.1 per cent), France (+20.2 per cent), Austria (+18.6 per cent), Britain (17.7 per cent) and Japan (+12.4 per cent).

The Federation said that the drop in exported volumes of watches was accelerating. During the first half, it amounted to 12.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2000.

The number of timepieces exported fell from 14.6 million to 12.7 million. However, their value increased by 7.3 per cent to SFr4.55 billion.

Figures show that the average price of a Swiss watch is rising fast once again. It is now SFr357, compared with 291 a year ago.

swissinfo with agencies


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