May 14, 2019 / 8:38 AM / a month ago

Swiss engineering sector sees Q1 orders fall 5.1%

ZURICH, May 14 (Reuters) - New orders to the Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering (MEM) sector fell 5.1% in the first quarter, industry group Swissmem said on Tuesday, citing a slowdown in key markets.

Sales fell by 1.1% year on year, while exports edged up 0.9%.

“Swissmem anticipates a sideways trend in business by the MEM industries throughout the remainder of 2019. Given the considerable economic risks that exist worldwide, it is important to avoid home-grown uncertainties,” it said.

It cited in particular Swiss referendums on Sunday on reforming the corporate tax system and adopting tighter gun controls — whose passage could avoid potential clashes with the European Union — and progress on a stalled EU treaty.

Swissmem said members’ expectations for the next 12 months were subdued, with 26% of companies anticipating an increase in foreign orders, down from 48% a year ago. Just under half expect no change in orders, and a quarter anticipate a fall in orders. (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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