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China Gives Swiss Watchmakers Timely Relief

May 1, 2017 3:05 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The Swiss watch industry enjoyed its first month of growth in nearly two years during March, signaling a recovery in China’s and Hong Kong’s watch and jewelry markets.

Exports of Swiss watches rose 7.5% year on year to $1.59 billion (CHF 1.59 billion) — following 20 consecutive months of decline — with the volume of wristwatches increasing 8.5% to 2 million units, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported last week.

Growth was recorded in the top five markets, with exports to Hong Kong up 18% to $209.7 million (CHF 208.8 million), those to the US rising 15.6% to $170.5 million (CHF 169.8 million), and exports to China up 38% to $129.7 million (CHF 129.2 million).

“Hong Kong, which had been showing signs of recovery for some time, ended 25 months of steep decline,” the federation explained. “The recovery experienced by China since last summer was further strengthened by substantial growth.”

Hong Kong’s major jewelers observed a similar stabilization in the quarter that ended March 31, with Chow Tai Fook reporting sales growth for the first time in three years during the period. Luk Fook noted a similar turnaround.

However, there remains some caution in the market. The number of participants at this year’s Baselworld show — the watch industry’s premier trade event — dropped 4% from last year. Organizers noted the industry was enduring a challenging period, with smaller companies feeling the greatest impact of the downturn.

The Swiss watch industry’s numbers have continued to fall on a quarterly basis, with exports in the first three months down 3% from last year and 12% compared to 2015. Exports to Hong Kong were flat for the period, while those to China grew 16.5%.

* Picture courtesy of Baselworld.
Tags: Baselworld, Chow Tai Fook, diamonds, jewellery, Jewelry, Rapaport News, Swiss watches, timepieces, watches
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