ZURICH, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Swiss exports grew robustly in November as strong sales to the United States and Asia helped offset more muted growth in its biggest trading partner Europe, suggesting firms are managing to shake off the strong Swiss franc.
Exports from Switzerland rose by a real 4 percent year-on-year in November to 18.776 billion Swiss francs, the Federal Customs Office said on Thursday.
Despite faster-than-expected growth in the third quarter, the Swiss National Bank said last week it expects growth to significantly weaken in the final three months of the year as the global economy stays fragile.
But Thursday’s number suggest the economy is resilient, with exports in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry rising a real 11.1 percent, while exports in the machinery and electronics industry were in positive territory for the first time in 16 months.
Sales to Asia increased by 8.7 percent and to the United States by 21.3 percent, compared to a 1.1 percent rise in sales to the European Union.
Overall Switzerland ran a merchandise trade surplus of 2.946 billion Swiss francs in November, the second highest monthly surplus ever registered.
A raft of recent data has also suggested the economy may have emerged from a trough. Swiss investor sentiment in December rose to its highest level in seven months, while November industrial production grew at a rate not seen since early 2011. (Reporting by Caroline Copley/editing by Chris Pizzey, London MPG Desk, +44 (0)207 542-4441)