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Swiss Watches Show Signs of Recovery

Jun 22, 2017 8:04 AM   By Rapaport News
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Swiss watch exports jumped in May amid stronger demand from China and Hong Kong, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday.

Exports grew 9% to $1.75 billion (CHF 1.7 billion) for the month, driven by an 18% rise in shipments to Hong Kong, which stood at $229.9 million (CHF 223.7 million). Chinese orders increased 34% to $119.2 million (CHF 116 million). Exports to the US slipped 1.1% to $175.8 million (CHF 171 million).

The sector has now enjoyed two months of year-on-year growth since the start of 2017. In March, exports rose 7.5% over the previous year’s figures — the first increase in nearly two years. Shipments slipped again in April, but returned to positive levels in May, “confirming the recovery which has been under way since the start of the year,” the federation said.

The trade is still quiet compared with its 2011 peak, when watch manufacturers increased production levels significantly, according to one Israel-based diamond supplier who works with the timepiece industry. That resulted in an oversupply in 2012, continued the trader, who requested anonymity.

Since then, demand has been sluggish, weighed down by anti-corruption policies in China, but has shown signs of recovering this year, especially since the Baselworld show in March. Total exports are down 1% since January, but shipments to China have surged 24%, outweighing weaker trading with the US and Japan.

“Now, after Basel, we had a few orders, and you feel that the watch industry is improving slightly,” said the diamond supplier.

During May, precious-metal watch exports increased 16% by value, while shipments of steel timepieces rose 12%. Exports of watches consisting of both gold and steel went up 6%. The top price category — $3,084 (CHF 3,000) and above — saw a 15% jump, making it the most improved segment.

Image: Newscast
Tags: Baselworld, China, Federation of the Swiss ‎Watch Industry, Hong Kong, Rapaport News, Swiss watch exports, Swiss watch trade, timepieces, watches
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