August 22, 2013 / 7:57 AM / in 5 years

Swiss exports fall in July on sluggish demand from Europe

ZURICH, August 22 (Reuters) - Swiss exports fell in July when adjusted for an extra working day in the month, the Federal Customs Office said on Thursday, as appetite for Swiss goods in its largest trading partner Europe remained weak.

An extra working day helped real exports rise by 3.0 percent in July to 18.222 billion Swiss francs ($19.80 billion), while exports of watches, pharmaceuticals and chemicals rose.

But exports from Switzerland fell by 1.9 percent on an adjusted basis.

Swiss exports have been supported by a cap the central bank imposed on the soaring franc currency in 2011, but have suffered from sluggish demand in Europe where an economic crisis has sapped business and consumer confidence.

Exports to Europe stagnated in July, the customs office said.

Swiss National Bank board member Fritz Zurbruegg said in a newspaper interview this month the central bank’s cap on the safe-haven currency would be kept in place for as long as needed even though the franc has recently weakened.

The SNB’s next policy meeting is on September 19.

Exports of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, the country’s biggest export category, rose 8.9 percent while machines and electronic devices were up 6.2 percent and watch exports rose 3.1 percent.

The trade surplus narrowed to 2.380 billion francs in July from 2.819 billion a month earlier. ($1 = 0.9205 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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