Swiss Exports Up 7.6% Despite U.S. ‘Slowdown’

Despite a "slowdown" in the United States, Swiss exports of finished watches and components rose 7.6% in value to 5.1 billion Swiss francs (about US$2.9 billion) in the first half of 2001, according to a new report from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS). The industry is "still going strong," although the double-digit growth seen last year (17.2% in the first half) is "no longer being achieved," says the report. A drop in the volume of exports, it continues, is "accelerating." Some 12.7 million units were exported by the Swiss watch industry between January and June 2001, compared with 14.6 million last year. However, the value of finished watch exports grew 7.3% to 4.55 billion Swiss francs (about US$2.6 billion). Much of that growth was in precious-metal watches—especially 18k gold watches, up 19%—whose export value grew 35.5%, or 1.48 billion Swiss francs (about

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