Record for Swiss foreign trade in the first quarter

Exports increased by 1.2% to 65.42 billion francs, despite the sharp drop suffered in March. Imports jumped 6.7% to 56.7 billion.

With chain records, Switzerland’s foreign trade continued to grow in the first quarter. Thanks to the good performance of deliveries in Asia and North America in particular, exports grew by 1.2% to 65.42 billion francs, despite the sharp drop suffered in March. Imports jumped 6.7% to 56.7 billion.

Due to different developments in the two traffic directions, the trade balance surplus fell sharply, from 2.8 billion francs to 8.73 billion francs, its lowest level since the third quarter of 2020. . Both on entry and exit, prices rose to very high levels.

From January to the end of March, seasonally adjusted exports increased by 1.2% (+2.4% in real terms, ie adjusted for inflation) compared to the previous three months, registering the seventh consecutive quarterly growth. Imports increased by 6.7% (current: +2.7%). Both overseas deliveries and entries into Switzerland reached record levels.

On the export side, shipments of watches (+5.3% to CHF 6.12 billion) made the biggest contribution to growth. Metals (+6.3% to 3.91 billion) as well as the machinery and electronics sector (+2.4% to 7.99 billion) completed the podium.

Slight decline for pharmaceuticals and chemicals

Precision instrument exports accelerated by 4.2% to 4.5 billion francs. These four sectors thus confirmed the dynamism of previous quarters. On the other hand, shipments of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, Switzerland’s main export sector, fell slightly (-0.7% to 34.05 billion) despite the boom in immune products. The drop in active ingredients weighed on performance. Jewelery (-10.8% to 2.79 billion francs) also suffered a setback.

Separated by region, exports to North America and Asia grew at the same pace (+3.7% to 14.14 billion francs and +3.6% to 13.71 billion francs, respectively), with shipments to America boosted by record sales of pharmaceuticals. In the Far East, deliveries to China and Japan showed a cumulative increase of nearly half a billion francs. Shipments to Europe stagnated at 37.5 billion.

In the Old Continent, while exports increased notably to Slovenia (farma), Germany and Italy, those to Spain fell.

In terms of imports, with the exception of jewelry and jewelery (-15.1%), the textile, clothing and footwear sector (-3.7%) and precision instruments (-0.5%), all other sectors registered a increase in the 1st quarter of 2022. The strongest contribution should be given to energy products, which increased by 1.8 billion francs, an increase that, however, is explained only by the increase in prices and not by the increase in volumes (+0 .8%).

Drop in exports in March

In March alone, exports fell sharply by 12.3% in seasonally adjusted data to CHF 10.98 billion, suffering mainly from the decline in deliveries of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. In real terms, the drop was 8.2%. The locomotive of shipments from Switzerland abroad, the pharmaceutical industry, suffered a drop of 20%.

Depending on the region, deliveries to North America were down 20%, while deliveries to Asia were broadly flat. In Europe, the drop was 9.8%. Shipments to Russia fell 60% to 129 million francs, reflecting the sanctions that hit the country after the invasion of Ukraine.

Imports increased in March by 4.4% in nominal terms (1.2% in real terms). The trade surplus fell to 1.76 billion francs after reaching a record 5.70 billion the previous month.

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