Swiss Watch Exports Down

Swiss watch exports fell 6.6% to 4.56 billion Swiss francs (CHF) during the first six months of 2003, says the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) in a July 28 report. It blamed the drop on “the effect of the war in Iraq, the SARS epidemic, and the poor economic situation in Europe.”

Given the world economic situation, a return to growth “is not foreseeable in the immediate future,” said the report. Though the SARS problem has ended in Asia, “Europe will certainly have to be patient longer before any improvement sets in,” the report continued. “The watch industry could then follow the positive trend.”

Exported finished watches fell 6.9% in value, compared with figures for the first half of 2002, to CHF4.12 billion. Volume declined to 11.14 million units, a 13.3% drop.

On the plus side, Swiss watch exports to the United States rose 1.2% in value in the first half of 2003 to CHF720.9 million (despite an 11% drop in June), and those to Great Britain were up 10.3%, to CHF259.9 million.