Exports inched up 0.2 percent from a month earlier to CHF 18.29 billion in August, driven by increases in sales of watchmaking (1.4 percent), precision instruments (1.6 percent), and metals (1.0 percent). By contrast, there was a decline in exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-1.1 percent), machinery and electronics (-0.2 percent), and jewelry and bijouterie (-2 percent).
Among major trade partners, exports to the EU increased 2.7 percent, mainly to France (8.4 percent), the Netherlands (8.3 percent), Spain (1.5 percent), and Italy (0.7 percent); while those to Germany and the UK decreased 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. In addition, sales rose to Singapore (11.1 percent), Brazil (4.4 percent), and the UAE (8.4 percent). By contrast, exports declined to the US (-1.6 percent), China (-0.8 percent); Japan (-22.6 percent), Hong Kong (-14.4 percent), Canada (-1.8 percent) and Australia (-6.8 percent).
Imports fell 1.1 percent to CHF 16.89 billion in August, as purchases dropped for vehicles (-5.6 percent), jewelry and bijouterie (-10.2 percent), metals (-3.3 percent), and textiles, clothing, footwear (-3.0 percent). Meanwhile, imports increased for chemical and pharmaceutical products (6.9 percent), and machinery and electronics (0.7 percent).
Among major trade partners, imports from the EU went down 1.5 percent, namely from Germany (-0.9 percent), France (-23.5 percent), Spain (-1.3 percent), and Austria (-6.7 percent) while those from Italy and the Netherlands rose 5.5 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Also, imports declined from China (-2.5 percent), but rose from the US (19.8 percent) and Japan (0.3 percent).
Considering January to August, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to CHF 10.44 billion from CHF 16.92 billion in the same period of 2017.