ZURICH, July 22 Switzerland's exports rose in
June, partly due to an increase in sales of chemical and
pharmaceutical products, the largest export category, data from
the Federal Customs Office showed on Tuesday.
A cap on the Swiss franc imposed by the central bank almost
three years ago has helped protect exporters, but weak demand
Europe, the country's largest trading partner, continues to drag
Exports rose an inflation-adjusted 2.2 percent year-on-year
in June to 16.866 billion Swiss francs ($18.8 billion), or 1.2
percent on a nominal basis, the data showed.
The rise was driven mainly by exports of pharmaceuticals and
chemicals, which rose a nominal 2.4 percent. But sales of
machines and electronic devices, the second-largest export
category, were down 1.7 percent.
Exports to Europe slipped by 1.2 percent in June on the same
Weak growth in the European Union is expected to curb the
momentum of Switzerland's export-powered economy and has led the
government to trim its latest forecasts for economic growth for
this year and 2015.
Exports of watches rose a nominal 1.4 percent in June to 1.9
billion francs and all main price segments showed a positive
trend both in value and volume terms, the Federation of the
Swiss Watch Industry (FH) said.
Watchmakers are grappling with an unfavourable currency
environment and sluggish demand for high-end watches in the
important Chinese market, where a crackdown on gifts for favours
has hurt watch sales.
Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker, said
on Tuesday the strong Swiss franc weighed on its first-half net
profit but it expected a positive second half on good demand in
the United States and Japan.
The trade surplus narrowed to 1.4 billion francs in June
from a revised 2.8 billion a month earlier.
($1 = 0.8984 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Hugh Lawson)