Swiss foreign trade strengthened in the third quarter

Boosted by chemical and pharmaceutical products, exports reached a new historic peak of 63.11 billion francs, the Federal Customs Administration (AFD) reported on Tuesday in its periodic statement.

In nominal terms, the evolution was +3.7% compared to the previous quarter, and in real terms, ie corrected for inflation, +2.5%. Since the first quarter of 2021, exports have again been moving above their level before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Imports up, but lower than 2019

Imports also strengthened (+2.6% nominal, +1.1% real) returning to the 50 billion franc mark, but still remaining 2.5 billion lower than their record level in the third quarter of 2019, specifies the ‘AFD.

The trade balance also reached a historic level, with a quarterly surplus of 12.56 billion francs, compared to 11.59 billion in the second partial and 7.61 billion in the third quarter of 2020.

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals, up 3.9% compared to the previous quarter, alone contributed to more than half of this jump in exports, driven in particular by immunological products which are part of the composition of vaccines.

The machinery and electronics sector, Switzerland’s second largest export item, grew by 2.7% compared to the previous quarter, driven by machine tools, with customs noting that exports in the sector are approaching their pre-pandemic levels.

The evolution of exports has nevertheless been “very disparate”, said the customs in the press release. These quarterly figures also mask a slight contraction in exports in September, down 0.2% from August.

Watch exports on the rise

Watch exports continued their positive momentum in September. Their turnover amounted to 1.88 billion francs, which represents an increase of 16.6% over one year, the year 2020 having been affected by the pandemic, reports the Federal Customs Administration. .

Compared to September 2019, the increase is 3.1%. “The third quarter again suffered from a favorable base effect, insofar as the corresponding period in 2020 still faced the consequences of the pandemic”, recalls the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) on Tuesday. Volumes sent abroad, on the other hand, continued to decline (-16.5% over two years).

In terms of markets, the United States (+28.5% over two years) and China (+45.3%) are playing their role as the driving force as usual. Hong Kong (-20.4%), Japan (-21%), respectively the third and fifth most important countries in terms of receipts, fell back while the United Kingdom (+12.8%), in fourth position, he got stronger. The other major European countries have taken disparate paths. France (+4.1%) advanced while Germany (-4.5%) and Italy (-20%) lost ground.

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Watch exports are close to their 2019 level

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