Switzerland: exports fell by 1,6% in January

Swiss exports have had a "timid" start to the year, customs authorities said, recording a 1,6% drop in January, in part due to a fall in trade with Germany, its leading trading partner in Europe.

Swiss exports totaled 21,2 billion Swiss francs (22,3 billion euros) in January, down from 21,5 billion francs in December, the Federal Customs Administration said in a statement.

Imports, meanwhile, fell 9,3 percent to nearly 18,4 billion Swiss francs. The trade balance ended the month with a surplus of CHF 2,8 billion, compared to nearly CHF 1,3 billion in December.

In the pharmaceuticals and chemicals sector, the backbone of the Swiss economy, exports fell 0,1% due to a drop in demand for active ingredients.

Exports of the second largest sector, machinery and electronic equipment, fell 1,9% and metals exports fell 5,3%. Exports of precision instruments, such as medical instruments and measuring devices, fell 5,6%.

Exports to the European Union, the Alpine country's largest market, fell 3,2% in January, while exports to Germany fell 11,8%. Exports to Italy also fell 21,9%, with customs authorities noting it was "the first setback after three months of recovery." Exports to France were down 2,7%.

In contrast, Swiss exports to the US rose 1%, while exports to China rose again by 10,7% after a 4,1% rise in the previous month.

In 2023, Swiss exports to China fell 3,5% for the year as a whole, recording the first decline in eleven years.

In mid-January, Swissmem, a Swiss employers' organization representing manufacturers of machinery, electronic equipment and metal products, expressed concern about the Swiss franc's appreciation against the euro and other currencies.

Swissmem warned that the Swiss franc's appreciation exacerbates the difficulties faced by exporting companies, which are already struggling with falling orders due to an uncertain economic climate and rising interest rates that are deterring investment.


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