Exports were almost unchanged at CHF 19.36 billion in March. An increase in sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (1.3 percent) and precision instruments (2.4 percent) offset a decline in exports of machinery and electronics (-0.1 percent), watches (-1.1 percent), metals (-1.5 percent) and jewelery and bijouterie (-13.7 percent).
Among major trade partners, exports rose to China (16.5 percent), but fell to the EU (-2 percent), mainly to Germany (-6.2 percent), France (-7.9 percent) and Italy (-13.7 percent); the US (-0.5 percent).
Imports increased 5.4 percent to CHF 17.05 billion, driven by an increase in purchases of: chemical and pharmaceutical products (18.6 percent); machinery and electronics (2.8 percent); vehicles (31.3 percent); and textiles, clothing, footwear (0.2 percent). In contrast, imports dropped for both jewelery and bijouterie (-10.3 percent) and metals (-1.9 percent).
Among major trade partners, imports rose from the EU (4.7 percent), mainly from Germany (2.1 percent), Italy (0.5 percent), France (16.2 percent) and Italy (0.5 percent). Also, imports went up from the US (40.2 percent), but fell from China (-3.8 percent).
Considering the first quarter of 2018, the trade surplus narrowed to CHF 6.5 billion from CHF 9.9 billion surplus in the same period of 2017.