The sharp decline in Switzerland's foreign trade accelerated in the month of May, with exports contracting by 19.1 per cent compared with the same period in 2008.
Exports fell to SFr14.261 billion ($13.111 billion) while imports dropped 21.8 per cent to SFr12.249 billion, according to the latest Federal Customs Office figures.
The metals industry was the worst affected, with a nominal drop of 39 per cent. The machine, electronics, textiles and watch industries also suffered above average declines.
Swiss exports to the United States and Germany were down 18 per cent, while the Hong Kong figures fell by more than 20 per cent. Demand for Swiss goods in Japan bucked the trend with an increase of 9.7 per cent.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Swiss watch exports in May were down 27.6 per cent on last year.
Manufacturers reported sales of SFr1.1 billion in the month of May, bringing the 2009 total to SFr5 billion, one quarter less than the same period in 2008.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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