Exports fell 0.3 percent from a month earlier to CHF 19.4 billion in March, dragged down by sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-0.4 percent); machinery and electronics (-1.7 percent) and metals (-3.4 percent). By contrast, shipments went up for watchmaking (1.0 percent); precision instruments (1.1 percent); jewellery (5.2 percent) and food, beverages and tobacco (1.9 percent).
Among major trade partners, exports declined to the US (-9.2 percent), Spain (-13.0 percent), the Netherlands (-7.0 percent), Singapore (-7.4 percent), South Korea (-4.2 percent), and the UAE (-3.6 percent). Meanwhile, there were increases in exports to Germany (1.4 percent), France (10.5 percent), Italy (10.3 percent), China (2.4 percent), Japan (15.5 percent) and Austria (21.5 percent).
Imports dropped at a faster 3.1 percent to CHF 16.9 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-6.5 percent); vehicles (-1.2 percent); metals (-2.1 percent); jewellery (-17.7 percent) and food, beverages and tobacco (-1.1 percent). On the other hand, imports rose for both machinery and electronics (1.0 percent) and textiles, clothing, footwear (0.9 percent).
Among major trade partners, imports decreased from the Germany (-9.5 percent), France (-2.7 percent), Italy (-5.5 percent), the US (-1.8 percent), Spain (-3.6 percent), the Netherlands (-2.3 percent), Ireland (-19.1 percent) and UAE (-41.5 percent). Meanwhile, imports increased from China (3.6 percent), Japan (4.5 percent) and Austria (13.1 percent).
Considering the first three months of the year, the trade surplus increased to CHF 6.2 billion from CHF 4.0 billion in the same period of 2018.